City to clean up Linden Avenue dump site

City to clean up Linden Avenue dump site
All the foliage and trees will be removed from more than an acre along the 1600 block Linden Avenue when the City cleans up contaminated soil at the old Linden Avenue dump site.

The Millers Creek Eco-Restoration project is not the only ecological clean-up operation going on in St. Nicholas. Very soon the City of Jacksonville plans to commence with a Remedial Action Plan to remove contaminated soils from an old dump site in the 1600 block of Linden Avenue.

Located on 1.24 acres of land at the northeast corner of Linden Avenue and Luce Street, the area is not considered to be a “brownfield” site, but still harbors enough contamination in its soils to require removal to a landfill facility. 

According to an Nov. 7, 2018 email obtained from Millers Creek Special Tax District President Sharon Johnson, Diversified Professional Services is under contract to implement an approved Remedial Action Plan, which was prepared for the city by Aerostar SES in March 2017. 

According to the Aerostar plan, the goal is to “close the site in accordance with Risk Management Option Level II – No Further Action with institutional and engineering controls (Chapter 62-780.680 Florida Administrative Code).” In the email, which was written by Nikita Reed of the City’s Engineering and Construction Management Division, the plan involves a “basic clearing and grubbing, excavation and clean fill job.” Also, in the email, Reed said she expects the land to start being cleared the week after Thanksgiving [2018]. 

According to the Remedial Action Plan, the dump site consists of a “maintained grassy area located on the northwestern corner of the site, a former electrical substation on the western portion of the site, and wooded land located in the central and eastern portions of the site.” Also, in the area to be cleaned up is a raised concrete pad and an old concrete drive. However, there are no plans to clean up wetland areas adjacent to the specific site, which lies just a short distance south of Millers Creek.

Although the current property owners are registered as Albert and Margaret Bauknecht Family Trust, 3434 Atlantic Land Trust and the Jacksonville Electric Authority, the City will pick up the entire tab for the remediation. The City approved a sum of $318,017 as payment for the cleanup effort to Diversified Professional Services Corporation during a General Government Awards Committee Meeting April 19, 2018. 

Although there is a JEA substation adjacent to the dump site and JEA is listed as one of the property owners, the utility has no plans to pay for any of the remediation, said Gerri Boyce, a spokeswoman for the utility.

“Linden Avenue is an old city dump site that has been slated by Florida Department of Environmental Protection for cleanup,” she wrote in an email. “We have a lift station that is part of the cleanup site footprint. Over the past few years we have opened our site to the City, so it could assess what needed to be done. We will allow them back on our portion of the cleanup site for remediation activities but will not be funding any of the remediation as we are not the financially responsible party.”

According to Aerostar’s Remedial Action Plan, concern about contaminants began in July 2009, when Ellis and Associates, Inc. completed a preliminary contamination assessment report, which it submitted to the City’s Environmental Resource Management Department. The report showed that an organic vapor analyzer equipped with a flame ionization detector discovered field screening results of more than 10 parts per million. Soil laboratory analysis also showed mercury, arsenic, benzo[a]pyrene equivalent and total recoverable hydrocarbon concentrations above the soil clean-up target levels established in Chapter 62-777 of the Florida Administrative Code. Meanwhile, results of the groundwater laboratory analysis showed naphthalene concentrations about the Groundwater Cleanup Target levels established in the same chapter of the Florida Administrative Code.

In researching the history of the site, Aerostar reviewed historical city directories, Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps and aerial photographs to determine the past occupants of the site. Although the site was not listed in any city directories, Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps showed the site developed as the St. Nicholas Park Sub Station, including concrete pads for equipment and a water tower, with aerial photographs showing this development took place between 1952 and 1959. The photos also show that the water tower was dismantled in 1982, and “no visible dumping appears to have taken place in the aerial photographs between 1943 and 2000,” according to the report.

Since at least 1959, the northwestern adjoining property was developed as Fire Station No. 12. Meanwhile, the northeastern adjoining property was developed as an office building since approximately 1969. Residential development since 1952 took place on the adjacent property to the east near Millers Creek, while the southern adjoining property was developed around 1969 and was listed as the American Telephone Company Overseas Operating Center in 1970 and 1975. From 1980 to 1995, it was not listed, but in 2010 the listing had changed to the Baptist Health Data Center. Meanwhile, the southwestern adjoining property was developed in 1959 and has been listed as several different auto sales and repair shops and multiple restaurants. The properties to the west, which border Linden Avenue, were developed for residential use prior to 1943, according to the report.

Because the extent of the contamination covers the entire site, all trees will be removed and disposed of off-site. Concrete and large debris will also be removed so the impacted soil can be excavated to a maximum depth of two feet. The excavations will then be “backfilled with up to two feet of clean backfill to insure the site has at least a two-foot cover of clean soil,” according to the report, which also notes the estimated volume of soil to be removed is 4,200 cubic yards (5,800 tons). The entire site will be graded to slope from Linden Avenue down to Millers Creek and will be covered with sod upon completion, according to the report.

Trees will be replanted on the site after the remediation is complete. While excavation and backfill activities are in process, traffic on Linden Avenue and Luce Street may be limited to one lane and it will be up to the St. Johns Water Management District to make sure stormwater safeguards are in place to ensure no silt or soil migrates into Millers Creek, according to the report.

Upon learning of excavation project, the Millers Creek Board asked Joe Wagner of Wood Environment and Infrastructure Solutions, Inc., who is assisting on its eco-restoration project, to investigate whether work done on the Linden Avenue cleanup can also benefit the Millers Creek dredging project.

“Joe Wagner is seeing if there is anything that can be done to piggyback on this,” said Johnson. 

Wagner said he has been speaking with the City to see if it is possible the District and City might share the cost of transporting the soil to the landfill. “If they are taking soil already, why not take this other soil, too?” he said. “We want to get a relationship started and have these folks talking to each other to see if anything can be done.”

By Marcia Hodgson
Resident Community News

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