Pollution near jail site poses little safety concern

Pollution near jail site poses little safety concern

Source: The Brunswick News (GA), January 28, 2013
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com

While site of the new Glynn County Detention Center under construction is near a previously known environmental Superfund site, employees and inmates should have no health concerns once the facility is opened next year.

That’s the assessment by county and environmental officials, including Daniel Parshley, project manager for the Glynn County Environmental Coalition, an environmental watchdog, and others who have conducted environmental studies at the site.

The issue surfaced recently when an official wondered whether the two-year indemnification period the seller is giving the county against property issues was long enough.

“It’s been tested three times,” Parshley said. “The county did its due diligence.”

That doesn’t mean the entire site that was once home to LPC Chemical Co. has been cleaned up, but that’s not an issue for the jail. Parshley said the tract where the jail is being built was the site of an old drive-in theater and studies did not indicate any areas of concern.

“There are still contaminated areas at the site, but none of them is near the jail,” he said. “We have a good idea where they are.”

Glynn County Administrator Alan Ours says there have been numerous studies at the jail site. An environmental law firm was hired to ensure there were no concerns before the county paid $475,000 to purchase the 34-acre tract on U.S. 341, south of Community Road.

The two-year guarantee the county received from Honeywell, the company that owned the property, protects the county from any liability if unforeseen environmental issues are discovered.

Parshley says that type of guarantee is a good business practice that “an attorney worth any salt” would require.

County Attorney Aaron Mumford agrees, saying the agreement with Honeywell that protects the county from liability through June 14, 2014, is “pretty typical.”

“It does not mean Honeywell is not responsible after that period,” Mumford said. “The company would still be responsible for any pre-existing issues on the site.”

Mumford expresses confidence, based on the many studies done at the site, that it is safe as the location for the jail. “We didn’t see any red flags,” he said.

Ours says construction continues to be ahead of schedule because the weather has cooperated with relatively little rain to delay work. “The project is continuing to go very well,” he said.

At the existing jail, the current jail population is 338 inmates, and the facility can hold 448, Undersheriff Ron Corbett said Friday.

While the number fluctuates, Corbett says the county has not had to send inmates to other counties because of overcrowding. Once the new, 610-inmate jail opens, Corbett says the county will not have to worry about flirting with exceeding capacity.

Corbett says it’s even possible Glynn County could house some inmates from nearby counties if their jails are overflowing, as long as space is available and those counties are willing to pay to house inmates here.

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