Lenoir Car Works site set to undergo remediation for lead

Jeremy Styron-News-Herald

The property that has largely sat dormant for a little less than 50 years after a steel foundry shuttered its doors in the early 1960s will undergo further soil remediation to isolate any potentially hazardous materials on the site and prepare the location for a future industrial use.

The site, which formerly housed Lenoir Car Works, consists of about 100 acres owned by Norfolk Southern. Between 60-80 acres will be available for commercial use once the cleaning process is complete.

Susan Terpay, director of public relations with Norfolk Southern, said in an emailed statement the remediation process involves removing "foundry sand and slag" from the site and consolidating the material into a 15-acre plot of land that will be located onsite.

"The materials will be sealed with a protective engineered cap of clay and soil about 2-feet thick (similar to a landfill cap but more protective)," Terpay said in the statement. "The consolidation area will be fenced to prevent trespassing, and NS will maintain the cap long term."

Norfolk began cleaning a 15-acre parcel along a portion of the site to the east in 2012. Upcoming remediation will be focused on the larger tract to the west.

Remediation on the smaller piece of land was completed last October, according to the statement from Norfolk.

"Safety and environmental protection measures, as required by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, were taken to protect adjacent properties and businesses, and will be followed again during remediation of the remaining 85 acres," Terpay wrote in the email.

A report from the Tennessee Department of Health in 2009 showed that blood lead screenings were conducted in April and June 2008 at the War Memorial Building in Lenoir City, with the purpose of testing individuals who live near the former Lenoir Car Works site. Blood samples were taken from 17 women and children. Results from 14 children and three pregnant women indicated that micrograms per deciliter lead levels ranged from one to six.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, a level of 10 or higher would raise a red flag with health care professionals.

Terpay said Norfolk is working with the Tennessee Department of Conservation on a remediation plan that will meet state requirements. Once a plan is approved, the cleaning is expected to resume in spring 2013 and be completed by 2014.

She said the company was taking measures to prevent any materials from leaching off the property.

"During the remediation none of the sand and slag will be transported off the site," she said. "Dust levels will be monitored daily. The trucks and equipment at the site will be washed before leaving the property, and the roads at the work site will be wetted to suppress any dust."