Morrisville Water & Light’s Grist Mill (left) and Creamery (right) are getting a brownfields cleanup, so the buildings can be sold to a developer and become usable once again. -Smith photo
by Mickey Smith
MORRISVILLE - Two little-used buildings on the edge of the Lamoille River will soon be available for a new life, according the Morrisville Water & Light Department (MWL).
MWL Manager Craig Myotte said the village trustees (who also serve as the board of directors for MWL) have contracted with the Burlington-based environmental clean-up company, ENPRO, to take care of some brownfield issues at the two historical buildings they own on A Street.
Myotte said work to remediate what are known as the grist mill and creamery buildings dates back to the 1990s when his predessesor, Jim Fox, originally began looking at what work would be needed to clean up the two buildings. Myotte estimated they have done a phase one study (a look at a site to see if there is the potential for a brownfield issue) of the sites three or four times over the years. Those studies, he explained, expire and have to be restarted if work is not completed.
PCB contaminates as well as some mercury was found to be the major issues. They can be remediated by removing some soils around the building and pulling up and replacing the flooring. He said fortunately the levels of contaminates were low enough that the materials can be disposed of at a regular lined landfill, and won’t have to be shipped out of state. The buildings had been used for storage in the past and it is expected the contaminates came from leaks or spills from items like transformers which had been stored there.
This time, with assistance from the Lamoille County Planning Commission (LCPC), the phase one and phase two (pin points actual areas where remediation is required) were completed and the board determined it was a good time to go ahead with the work. LCPC aided MWL in creating a “corrective action plan” and “self implementation plan,” which would allow them to do the proper work at the site.
Myotte said there were concerns with the time-line of applying for grants to pay for the project and the board decided it would be best to pay for the work now in order to get the project done. He said ENPRO was by far and away the low bidder for the project, and expects the work to come in between $75 to $100,000. The exterior work has been completed, and Myotte expects the interior work to be done by Thanksgiving.
MWL expects to be able to make that money back by selling the buildings. As soon as they get a “clean bill of health” on the buildings they plan to start marketing them. A few years ago they had interest from a developer that wanted to open a restaurant in the grist mill, along with a general store in the creamery building. That project has since fallen through and one of the reasons, Myotte said, was the board has wanted to get the building cleaned up so they can offer a clean/ready to be remodeled location to a developer.
Myotte estimated it will take a month or two to get the clean report, so he expects in January they can begin looking for developers. He said along with selling it to recoup the money spent on the clean up, the board looks as this as an opportunity to return two buildings to the town and village’s tax rolls.