Contaminated soil halts Havelock construction project

Contaminated soil halts Havelock construction project

Source:, September 27, 2011
By: Drew C. Wilson

A small patch of petroleum-contaminated soil beneath Havelock City Hall will have to be cleaned up for construction of a new building.

A set of six soil borings drilled July 21 where an old underground fuel storage tank was once located detected the spots that had petroleum levels exceeding the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources standards.

Another six borings done Aug. 19 on the west and south side of the building were found to be clean.

The known contaminated area is between 200 and 250 cubic yards of soil.

Dave Harvell, assistant city manager, said the area had a small underground fuel storage tank of 75 to 150 gallons in the 1960s. It was removed in 1970.

“Unfortunately when they removed it, they did not remove the contaminated soil,” Harvell said.

He said some of the contamination could extend underneath the building. It is not known because a boring machine could not get under the building to take further samples.

“As for the contaminated site, the mayor and the Board of Commissioners are fully committed to getting it cleaned up during the process of building the new city hall,” Harvell said.

The city’s effort to acquire a $1.8 million loan and grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to finance what could be a 10,000 square-foot new city hall is continuing.

According to Harvell, the city has already received verbal acceptance of the loan request, but is waiting to receive the documents in writing.

Harvell said the new building would likely be built west and south of the existing building in an “L” shape. City workers will likely work out of the existing city hall while the new one is being constructed.

“Instead of having the $30,000 or $40,000 expense of having to bring in three or four mobile offices, we’re going to maintain the integrity of the current city hall while the new city hall is being built,” Harvell said.

When the new building is finished, the old one will be demolished.

Asbestos has been detected in portions of the old city hall, as city officials expected. The oldest part of the building is more than 60 years old and was once a chapel for Cherry Point.

“There will be some expense as far as remediation of the asbestos within the confines of the older part of the current city hall, but that’s no surprise,” Harvell said. “I anticipated some level of asbestos.”

The footprint of the old building will be converted into a parking area for the new city hall.

Harvell said all of the plans were speculative at this point pending the official approval of the USDA loan and then the acceptance of terms by the commissioners.

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