By Paul Schmitt
The City of Sturgeon Bay has their reasons why the dirt piles on the Sturgeon Bay west side has not been moved or used. Posting a message on social media Tuesday, the City outlined reasons why the fill piles are not being relocated or graded including cost and contamination. City Administrator Josh VanLieshout explains the reasoning.
Also, distributing the fill on the site could add unnecessary costs if the west side improvements do not come to fruition, according to Van Lieshout. The Lindgren hotel development project near the site is still in limbo as the final declaratory ruling on the ordinary high water mark for Parcel 92 takes its next step Thursday with a meeting. The facebook post by the City of Sturgeon Bay is below:
Over the past few weeks, renewed interest in the purpose of the fill piles on the former Co-Op site has been shared with several council and staff members. Below is information explaining where the material came from, why it is being stored, and the planned eventual use.
The piles are material salvaged from the construction of the storm water detention basin at Egg Harbor Road and 14th Avenue. At the time the fill was placed at the former Co-Op site, it was anticipated that construction of the improvements (park, parking lot, hotel and brewpub) would begin in the very near future.
The improvements and developments have been delayed, resulting in the fill piles staying in their current location much longer than anticipated. There continue to be several reasons not to relocate or grade the piles, inlcuding the following:
• Should the west side improvements (hotel, brewery, park and parking lot etc.) not come to fruition, the fill may not be necessary. Distributing the fill on the site may just add unnecessary cost.
• The City is in the process of obtaining a Voluntary Party Liability Exemption (VPLE) from the State of Wisconsin. The process requires a high level of environmental investigation and an approved remediation plan to be implemented. The approved remediation plan requires a cap of a certain thickness on portions of the site and the material used to create that cap must be “clean.” The fill piles have been through a battery of tests and have been determined to be acceptable for placement on the site. Distributing or grading over the piles would mix the clean fill with the existing blacktop and contaminated soils. Also, if the piles were removed and placed at a different location they could pick up contaminants and not be suitable for use in the future. It can at times be very difficult and costly to obtain clean fill.
• New construction on the site is required to be above the flood plain elevation of 585.0’ above sea level. The fill, besides serving as a cap, will also assist in bringing the site up to the required elevation. Given the uncertainty of final scope and location of the improvements (park, hotel, brewpub, etc.), hauling the fill off site or otherwise distributing the material could be a wasted of effort.
• There is value to the fill. The material is “clean” meaning that there aren’t any contaminant constituents that make the material difficult to haul or otherwise dispose of. Unnecessarily distributing the material or mixing it with the existing soils may contaminate it and possibly make it difficult to sell or otherwise dispose of it if necessary.
• If the fill is distributed, the excavation for future development foundation installations would likely contaminate the cap and require removal and replacement of the cap.