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Former Kitson Mill Site

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Background

The proposed project was the clearance of debris and rubble and blighting condition at the abandoned mill site located at 700 Kitson Street in the Greenwood Mill Village Neighborhood of the City of Greenwood.

Most recently, the facility operated as a function of Facemate Corporation, a medical textile company that operated on the site from 1995 to 2003. Facemate Corporation declared bankruptcy in 2003. Prior to Facemate Corporation's ownership, the property operated as a facility for Greenwood Mills until the mid-1900's.

A number of salvage companies obtained ownership of the property. One of these companies, Timberworks, LLC, took ownership in 2007 and began demolition. Timberworks, LLC intended to salvage construction materials including hardwood flooring and bricks from the former mill. During the reclamation, large amounts of asbestos containing materials (ACM) were discovered. Timberworks, LLC terminated their operations and left the site abandoned with remnants of the demolition and piles of rubble and debris. By 2008, Timberworks, LLC had become a defunct company and County taxes were not paid on the property. In 2010, the City of Greenwood began taking the steps to remediate the environmental concerns.

The City of Greenwood ordered a Phase I Environmental Assessment (12 mb pdf file) of the property in the fall of 2010 and began seeking state and federal funding to remove debris and further assess the site.

The City entered into a Non-Responsible Party Voluntary Cleanup Contract (VCC) with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) in June of 2011.

In order to secure state and federal assessment and cleanup funding, the City was required to have ownership of the property. With the VCC signed, Greenwood City Council voted to accept ownership of the property through a tax sale assignment (property taxes had been delinquent for over 3 years). The City's property ownership deed was recorded on July 13, 2011. The City retained the services of CTC Public Benefit Corporation in the summer of 2011 to write the work plan for the debris removal identified in the VCC.

CTC Public Benefit completed the Work Plan for Debris Removal on July 29, 2011. The City began working with the Upper Savannah Council of Governments in the late summer of 2011 to draft and submit a Community Development Block Grant application to the South Carolina Department of Commerce for debris removal at the abandoned mill site. The City's application was successful and a $500,000 grant was awarded at the end of 2011.

Throughout this process, the City of Greenwood engaged the Greenwood Mill Village Neighborhood Association and other community partners regarding the status of debris removal and cleanup efforts. A visioning effort for the community was also conducted by the Clemson University School of Planning, Development, Preservation and Landscape Architecture. Funding for this exercise was provided by the Self Family Foundation.

In the first quarter of 2012, the City of Greenwood engaged the services of CTC Public Benefit to draft the scope of work for the debris removal project. The scope of work included two separate contracts - a contract for debris removal and a contract for a third party air-monitoring contractor.

The contract documents were finalized and bid in the summer of 2012. The lowest, qualified contractor to submit a proposal was NEO Corporation. On October 15, 2012, the City of Greenwood and NEO Corporation signed a $467,250 contract for the debris removal component of the site. NEO's contract also included the demolition of the old elevator shaft, guard shack, and smokestack.

The City was also required to hire a third party firm to handle air monitoring during the debris removal process. The lowest, qualified contractor to submit a proposal was ECS Carolinas LLP. The ECS contract was for $40,120.

The City of Greenwood continued to seeking funding for the cleanup effort. In the summer of 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded the City of Greenwood a $300,000 citywide Brownfields Assessment Grant. The City targeted assessments at three properties, one of which is the Kitson Avenue Mill Site. This funding paid for costs associated with environmental site assessments to be conducted once all of the debris is removed, as well as for cleanup planning and community outreach activities.

In conjunction with the Brownfields Assessment Grant, the City also applied for and received funding from the South Carolina Department of Commerce’s program for the Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) ($500,000), the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC)’s Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund ($898,435), and the United States Environmental Protection Agency Brownfields Cleanup Grant ($200,000). A total of $2,412,930.95 has been spent on the assessment and cleanup of structures, debris, and soil at the mill thus far. The funding sources have included CDBG funds, SCDHEC’s Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund, City of Greenwood Brownfields Assessment and Cleanup Grant Funds, the City’s General Fund, and contributions from the Self Family Foundation, Greenwood County in waiver of disposal fees, and the Greenwood Commissioners of Public Works for water. With this $2,412,930.95, the City has completed the asbestos abatement of all buildings on the property, the demolition of all structures on the property except the administration building and the entering turnstile, the removal of all debris at ground surface, the removal of segregated wastes in containers and a transformer, the assessment of soils and groundwater, the return of the site to a grade that will not allow ponding of rainwater (eliminating a mosquito breeding area that was causing concern in the neighborhood), and installation of a demarcation barrier with one foot of clean soil on the entire property.
The Phase II ESA that was accomplished with Greenwood’s EPA Assessment Grant and in accordance with the terms and conditions of the VCC with SCDHEC revealed that target analyte list (TAL) metals, target compound list (TCL) PCBs, TCL pesticides and TCL semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) were observed at concentrations above the laboratory reporting limits in one or more of the soil samples collected. More specifically, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and arsenic were widespread in surface and subsurface soils throughout the property and were likely attributed to the previous storage and burning of coal on the property to power the mill operations and use in textile dyes, respectively. The soils in certain areas were found to be contaminated with cobalt and hexavalent (hex) chromium, which were also used in textile dyes. The referenced soil contaminants were found in excess of residential and/or industrial EPA Regional Screening Levels (RSLs). The State of South Carolina does not have soil clean-up standards, so SCDHEC uses EPA RSLs. An elevated risk of exposure to these contaminants exists via the dermal, inhalation, and ingestion pathways for the population living immediately adjacent to the former mill. Groundwater has been impacted above EPA’s Maximum Contaminant Levels for Drinking Water, but no one is drinking the groundwater, so it is not a threat of concern. As a part of the VCC, SCDHEC required a restrictive covenant be placed on the property for no use of the groundwater.
Currently, the City is in the process of having the property appraised so that potential developers may consider future uses of the property. The City remains committed to ensuring a future use that compliments the existing neighborhood. Prior to the final cleanup, the City obtained a market study to determine the best possible future uses of the property. This market study is presented in summary and a full report. Restrictive covenants have been recorded and are available for review.