Remediation of contaminant-filled soil in the old Lenoir Car Works site has been completed.
Cleanup of the nearly 100 acres owned by Southern Regional Industrial Realty Inc., a subsidiary of Norfolk Southern, was finished late last year.
Susan Terpay, director of public relations with Norfolk Southern, said in an email that the next step will be to file legal documents to specify what type of restrictions will be placed for use of the land.
“The property will be limited to industrial use,” Terpay said. “We plan to file those documents in the coming months. Norfolk Southern and Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development both will market the site to potential businesses.”
A Tennessee Department of Environmental and Conservation letter sent to Norfolk Southern earlier this month confirmed the completion of the approved corrective action.
“Confirmatory sampling has confirmed the removal and relocation of contaminated slag and foundry sand is complete and that remaining soils were below industrial use standards,” the letter reads. “Subject to the filing of a Notice of Land Use Restrictions, which will restrict the property to industrial reuse, it is DoR’s (Division of Remediation) opinion that the site does not pose a threat to human health or the environment.”
The TDEC Division of Remediation is in the process of removing the site from the list of inactive hazardous substance sites, according to the letter from Terpay.
In a previous interview, Terpay noted none of the contaminated soil will leave the property, and will be placed on 20 acres and capped to prevent exposure. Another 70 acres to the east and north of Industrial Park Drive, along with 10 acres to the west of C Street, should be available for commercial use.
Amber Scott, assistant city administrator for Lenoir City, said “judging by our past relationship with the railroad,” she believes Norfolk Southern may include city officials in what ends up placed on the property.
“First and foremost I want to say that it’s been a great pleasure working with Norfolk Southern on this project,” Scott said. “They really came in here and worked very harmoniously with the city, keeping us informed and made a commitment to our community to remediate the site.”
Lenoir City Councilman Eddie Simpson said he was pleased to see the property on the market again.
“I think it’s a wonderful thing that we not only got some property back on the market for development, but the best thing is that it’s cleaned up and we no longer have to worry about it leaching or contaminating some other property, so I think it was a great thing to happen,” Simpson said. “I know we worked years and years on it to try to make it happen.”
While Norfolk Southern will attempt to market it for rail use, Simpson said he could see a time where smaller industrial-type businesses open up.
“I would be happy with either way,” Simpson said. “I would like to have some people down there, small businesses, that’s what pays 70 percent of our employees is the businesses of those small companies and I think they would employ a lot of people as a group probably more than a warehouse or something like that that Norfolk Southern might decide to use for just to get a rail user. I’d love to see it developed into smaller parcels and put a lot of different parcels on the map.”