Report: more environmental testing recommended for Ridgeway rec site

RIDGEWAY – A Phase I environmental site assessment report on the new Ridgeway recreation center site provided by a private consulting firm hired by the county in 2021, leaves questions about the environmental condition of the 30-acre property.

“This area would likely be a source of contaminants from past South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) operations,” the report stated, referencing the northwest and central sections of the property. The 4-1/2 acre recreation site is located in the northeast corner of the 30-acre property.

Based on a source knowledgeable about the site’s history, the report states that it “was used as a ‘dump site’ for paint and oil by SCDOT [which] owned the property from 1946 to 2010.

“Due to the presence of large amounts of empty, rusted, 55-gallon drums, 5-gallon buckets, large creosote poles, tires, automotive parts, yard debris and concrete slab debris observed during site reconnaissance, and the knowledge that dumping took place on the property while SCDOT maintained ownership, the 30-acre property may have been potentially adversely impacted,” the report states.

A ‘User Questionnaire’ included in the report states that, “paint cans and oil drums are still present on the property.

“The northwest portion of the site had a distinct smell of creosote due to the creosote poles observed in this area during site reconnaissance,” according to the report.

The report also noted that several 55-gallon drums were observed floating in a lagoon “that did not appear to be a natural formation in the northwest portion and central portion of the property.

“Since the contents or the former contents of these observed materials are unknown, these materials contribute to the REC (Recognized Environmental Condition) attributed to dumping in connection with the entire 30-acre property,” the report noted.

While the report relied on “reasonably ascertainable historical records, historical photographs, regulatory records databases and other records made readily available” and site reconnaissance, it did not conduct borings, sampling or testing on the soil or environment, according to the report.

The report recommended a Phase II Environmental Site Assessment to determine if the identified REC(s) have adversely impacted the property.

According to Bill Coleman, Construction Manager for Infrastructure Consulting and Engineering (ICE), also hired by the county in conjunction with the construction of the recreation center, ICE followed up with a Phase II assessment in 2021 prior to the start of construction of the recreation center.

Coleman said the Phase II assessment included borings at the recreation site. Those results have not been made available to the county as of Tuesday, according to Interim County Administrator Laura Johnson.

The Phase II results and boring site map have been requested from ICE by The Voice.

According to Rodney Wingard, environmental manager for FME, who prepared the Phase I report, the findings of this report are applicable, and representative of conditions encountered at the Property on the date of site reconnaissance and may not represent conditions at a later date.

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