Former Vlasic plant site must be tested

December 24, 2013

It is not a debate.  Allen Harim as part of the purchase has an obligation to investigate the site and not be left responsible for a problem that was not of their making. While an investigation has taken place, it was less than thorough, but it nevertheless found problems that were largely not known. What is not known before they sign on the dotted line is that any pollution would be the new owner’s responsibility.

Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control last took decisive action on the site in 1988 when severe nitrate contamination was found.  A groundwater remediation effort was ordered and executed until 1997.  Before 1988 and since,  lax oversight and absence of meaningful groundwater monitoring has again allowed significant environmental pollution to occur from spray field application of wastes and leaking surface impoundments.  I’m quoted as saying at the hearing, "I'm disgusted with the action of the state with this site."

That does not begin to express my views.
Today, we are faced with contamination that can be traced far off site by the trail of vinegar and pickle spice in the groundwater.  It is this chemical soup that has also created conditions under which toxic heavy metals such as arsenic, cobalt and lead are made soluble and transported  off-site.

The next steps are to find the source of the heavy metals and determine where to and at what level of health risk they have moved off-site.  Until these additional test are done, how big the problem is and how and if it can be remedied are questions with no certain answers.

John Austin
Rehoboth Beach

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