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Environmental study ordered on building site

The city board has ordered an environmentalstudy done before it accepts the remaining portion of amanufacturing site in Brookhaven.

    At a called board meeting held Wednesday, aldermen approved DunganEngineering’s proposal to hire Environmental Management Services ofHattiesburg to conduct the study. The study will be conducted on aportion of the former Stahl-Urban manufacturing site at anestimated cost of $3,200.

    “They’ll let us know if there’s any hazardous material on thesite,” said Mayor Les Bumgarner during the meeting.

    The city owns the former manufacturing plant and one of twowarehouses located on either side of the plant. Aurthur Jeppe ownsthe second warehouse and wishes to donate the building to thecity.

    The environmental study will not include the entire property, butbe limited to the building and surrounding grounds Jeppe owns andwishes to donate to the city.

    In previous interviews, Bumgarner and City Attorney Joe Fernaldsaid the transfer was only pending an updated appraisal of theproperty. Both had expressed optimism the transfer could becompleted by the end of the year.

    Those plans are now on hold.

    Ryan Holmes, of Dungan Engineering, told the board Wednesday thestudy will not be completed until Jan. 6.

    “This will probably only delay us a couple weeks,” Bumgarner saidwhen asked following the meeting about the date of thetransfer.

    Holmes said phase one of the study will determine the past propertyuse, primarily through interviews with previous owners. Phase oneseeks to ensure no hazardous dumping occurred on the site andwhether underground tanks were ever used there.

    If phase one indicates a clean bill of health, the study will becomplete. If potential problems are uncovered, the study will moveinto phase two, which involves soil and paint samples, Holmessaid.

    The presence of substances such as asbestos, chemicals or otherhazardous materials would be require a phase three: cleanup.

    In a previous interview concerning the Stahl-Urban property,Fernald expressed concern about the possible presence of asbestoson the property.

    Following Wednesday’s meeting, Holmes said locating past owners isthe most difficult part of phase one. The study will go as far backin the property history as possible, Holmes said.

    When questioned about the possibility of a phase two during themeeting, Holmes said phase one leads to a phase two only about halfthe time.

    Bumgarner said the decision to undertake a study was a recentone.

    “We decided it would be best to protect the city,” Bumgarner said.”I was under the impression one was always going to be done.

    The mayor does not foresee any problems.

    “The history seems to be good,” Bumgarner said.

    However, the presence of unforeseen hazardous materials might forcethe city to take a second look at the site, Bumgarner said.

    “It may affect whether we accept the property,” Bumgarner said.

    Following the meeting, Bumgarner said the cost of any necessarycleanup would determine whether the city accepted the property ifhazardous materials were found.

    If the city does take control of the property, its future remainsundetermined. In a previous interview, Ward One Alderman Dorseysuggested the city barn could be partially moved to the Stahl-Urbansite, though city leaders have not officially stated a purpose forthe buildings and grounds.

    Bert Carollo currently rents both the warehouse owned by the cityand the one owned by Jeppe.

    In other business Wednesday, the board entered in executive sessionWednesday to discuss a personnel matter in the waterdepartment.

    After entering back into open session, the board unanimously votedto terminate the employment of Kenneth Lloyd for cause. Officialsdid not elaborate on the termination issue.