|Car Works awaits delisting
Jeremy Nash news-herald.net
Officials are taking a slow approach toward putting the old Lenoir Car Works land to use, as the nearly 100-acre property nears delisting on the state’s inactive hazardous substance sites more than a year after remediation ended.
Owned by Southern Regional Industrial Inc., a subsidiary of Norfolk Southern, the property was cleaned of its contaminant-filled soil more than year ago. Site activities have been limited to “routine maintenance activities consistent with the Operation and Maintenance Plan” developed specifically for the Lenoir Car Works site.
The property is in the public comment stage before a formal delisting hearing with the Underground Storage Tanks and Solid Waste Disposal Control Board occurs Sept. 6. A public meeting was held July 6 in Lenoir City.
“The delisting rulemaking procedure typically takes 4-8 months from request,” Eric Ward, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation communications director, said in an email correspondence. “While the on-site activities were completed in 2016, the financial assurance and other administrative measures, which will provide for the long-term operations and maintenance of the landfill, were completed in May. It should be noted that once the site is remediated, the actual delisting process does not prohibit the site from returning to productive reuse.”
If the board approves the site’s delisting, the administrative process could take about two or three months before going into effect.
“TDEC is not involved in any property action or activities as long as it complies with the restrictions,” Ward said. “The landfill will be operated, maintained and monitored by Norfolk Southern per the approved operations and maintenance plan that is in effect.”
The Lenoir Car Works site is being marketed by Norfolk Southern with business development partners throughout the region. Hopes are to utilize the land for industrial use.
“It is routinely submitted for potential rail projects that need a site of this size in this part of Tennessee,” Susan Terpay, director of public relations with Norfolk Southern, said in an email correspondence. “The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, TVA and Loudon (County) Economic Development Agency also share information on the site with potential rail customers when appropriate. The site is listed on the TECD website along with other available properties across Tennessee.
“... The property is being marketed both in its entirety and as an eastern parcel, approximately 9 acres, and a western parcel, approximately 74 acres — separate from the 23-acre capped area,” she added.
None of the contaminated soil will leave the property and was placed on 20 acres and capped to deter exposure. Seventy acres to the north and east of Industrial Park Drive, as well as 10 acres to the west of C Street, were said to be open for commercial use.
Businesses have either visited the site or requested additional information, but Terpay said no “firm commitments” are available at this time.
Lenoir City Mayor Tony Aikens remains optimistic the property will be put to good use in the future.
“I think Norfolk Southern, obviously it’s up to them and they’re looking for a rail use as well,” Aikens said. “But I do remain hopeful and, of course, will work with Norfolk Southern if they bring the city a proposal.”