MILTON, Ga. — Fulton County’s seven-year, $1.5 million Providence Park cleanup project ran into some delays recently. While removing some final groundwater wells last December, the crew uncovered additional contaminated soil.
The project was scheduled to finish in December. But the discovery of extra soil has pushed the virtually completed project back a step without a new completion date.
“We had cleaned up the area that we thought we were to clean up,” said Anthony Spencer, a Fulton County engineering administrator assigned to Providence Park. “But then we found this additional soil. We’ve asked the state of Georgia to move the new material, so we don’t know how much time or confirmation samples are needed before the state says the park is clear.”
The contaminated soil comes from dozens of drums dumped in the area back in the 1970s. The drums were most likely filled with paint, gasoline or diesel fuel that over time broke down into possibly dangerous materials.
“Nobody knows exactly what was out there,” Spencer said. But the materials fell under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act regulated materials list, and the park was closed in January 2004. Fulton County hired Kemron Environmental Services in 2004 to help extract the potentially hazard material. Kemron had no comment.
Because the park was owned by Fulton County when the contamination was found, Fulton still manages the land. But once the cleanup is finished, Providence Park will move into Milton’s possession, according to Milton’s Parks and Recreation Guide.
The major technical issue and reason for the project’s longevity has been that part of Providence Park was once an old quarry, said Spencer. Fulton mined rock and concrete out of the quarry, creating fractures all through the bedrock. When the drums were dumped, the materials seeped into the soil and then down all the cracks in the rocks.
But Spencer said it is 95 percent close to completion, and the project will take about $50,000 to $60,000 more to finish.
“It has taken a long time to take out the water that’s filtered into the cracks,” he said. “We have spent a lot of money in the past [on Providence], and we think this is pretty much the end. We are really, really close.”