Former HK Porter Site Now an EPA Superfund Site

Ten-week cleanup will pave way to future redevelopment.

Huntington residents may have noticed a recent buzz in and around the HK Porter grounds on Sabine Street. The 12-acre property, a former factory complex, is undergoing the next step in hazardous materials abatement. The city was awarded a United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfield Assessment in the spring of 2015. In October of 2015, the site was approved for action under EPA’s Superfund Emergency Response Program.

The City of Huntington owns the property and is actively working with the EPA to facilitate the project.

HK Porter Clean-up Site“We completed the initial demolition and testing before requesting Federal help,” said Bryn Keplinger, Huntington’s Director of Community Development and Redevelopment, “and now we’re partnering with the EPA in the next series of action steps.”

The city’s Redevelopment Commission took ownership of the HK Porter site in March of 2014 after performing a series of initial environmental assessments. The city has secured the perimeter to discourage trespassing and already demolished eight outlying buildings. After completing the initial hazardous material abatement, it was time to escalate the cleanup effort.

EPA officials arrived in Huntington on July 17, 2017 to begin work. The assessment phase is the first step and involves air and soil tests for baseline quality and a review of all potential hazards to public health. Andrew Maguire is the EPA Federal On-Scene Coordinator for the 10-week project. Maguire’s crew will soon grow from four to twelve as work ramps-up at the site. The team of specialized contractors is preparing for the removal of several hazardous materials including asbestos, lead, and benzine.

“We can get more specific with our action plan when our first round of samples come back from the lab,” said Maguire, “We should have results back sometime next week.”

Work begins at HK Porter siteMaguire and his crew recently obtained and packaged air and water samples for testing at an independent lab. They are aware of lead in the soil and are systematically testing areas throughout the Superfund site. City-owned public right of ways will also be tested which may lead Maguire to request testing of privately-owned properties as well.

Mayor Brooks Fetters delivered letters regarding the project to area residents on July 27. Maguire, Keplinger, and other city officials spoke with homeowners in the area on July 28 to hear concerns and to offer open communication regarding the cleanup. Nancy Arivett, a nearby resident, was not opposed to allowing soil testing on her property. Arivett requested open lines of communication from the EPA regarding the project, especially possible air quality issues. Maguire understands the concern for air quality when asbestos is involved.

“We have technology onsite that continuously monitors air quality at locations throughout the site,” said Maguire, “If the level of asbestos were to reach a level that the EPA deems unsafe, I receive an email immediately. At that point our crew would cease operations and fix the air quality issue before resuming work.”

Anyone with questions, concerns, or an interest in the project is invited to attend the next City Council meeting on August 8. The meeting will take place at 7:00 PM in the City Council Chambers on the 3rd floor of the City Building. Location: 300 Cherry Street. Maguire and city officials plan to present the most current information on the Superfund project at the August 8 meeting.

Keplinger hopes many will take advantage of the opportunity to attend. He stresses the importance of communication regarding hazardous materials, especially since so many children live and play near the HK Porter site.

“We hope parents will remind their kids not to enter the HK Porter site during the Superfund cleanup or subsequent redevelopment,” said Keplinger, “We look forward to one day sharing this space with the public, but until then it is not a safe place to play or explore.”

Contractors  for the Environmental Protection Agency have begun assessment work at the former HK Porter complex. The 12-acre property is now a federal Superfund site.

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