Progress on revitalization of former NVF site in Yorklyn to be showcased during Yorklyn Day festival

June 2, 2017
By

DELAWARE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL
YORKLYN (June 2, 2017)

Revitalization milestones will be on display from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday, June 4, during the first Yorklyn Day festival at the former NVF manufacturing site in Yorklyn. The event will highlight site remediation – including toxics removal and flood mitigation – along with new trails and amenities, and plans for continued redevelopment.

“We are making tremendous progress in transforming Yorklyn into a residential, commercial, conservation and recreation area, while also removing a century of contamination,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “We are turning the area into a revitalized, vibrant hub of activity that retains its historic character and provides the kinds of amenities that will help drive economic growth while improving the quality of life for residents and visitors alike.”

· Already completed is the new Yorklyn Bridge Trail, located in the bullseye of the revitalization effort. It will surround a new flood mitigation wetland, which is slated to begin construction later this summer.

· The Yorklyn Bridge Trail now also connects to the CC Arts/Snuff Mill Trail, which also will be open to the public on Yorklyn Day. The trail connects the former NVF site with the historic Garrett Snuff Mills and the Center for Creative Arts. The centerpiece of the trail is the restored foundation of one of the Snuff Mills, dating back to the 1800s.

· In addition, the Oversee Trail, with beautiful, scenic views, is planned to be open in the next several days.

· Coming soon, a connection between the Yorklyn Bridge Trail and the Auburn Heights Trail loop, the first trail section completed in 2012, will be under construction in late summer 2017. This connection will include a renovated historic bridge behind the former Marshall Brothers Paper Mill on Benge Road.

What is not readily seen, but critical in the revitalization effort is the environmental remediation that continues. The former NVF manufacturing facilities in the area of Red Clay Creek are undergoing a massive environmental cleanup of nearly a century of historic contamination in soil, groundwater, sediment and surface water. In the process of remediating harmful contaminants from soils, a series of wetlands and flood mitigation measures will be created to reduce severe flooding that has resulted in significant economic impacts to the valley. In addition, restoration of the cross-stream that flowed through the facility will improve water quality and help to protect fish and other organisms in the Red Clay Creek.

DNREC’s Division of Waste & Hazardous Substances’ Site Investigation and Restoration Section (SIRS) is leading the remediation of the Brownfield site, including removal, treatment and disposal of hazardous materials from inside demolished buildings, removal and disposal of soil containing hazardous levels of zinc and lead, groundwater recovery and treatment, and monitoring of Red Clay Creek surface water and sediments. The private property owner has funded asbestos removal and building demolition. To date, more than 200 tons of contaminated materials have been removed from the interior of demolished buildings.

During the recent soil removal effort dubbed the “Big Dig,” more than 325,000 pounds (over 162 tons) of zinc have been removed from soils beneath the former manufacturing facility that now won’t contaminate the Red Clay Creek. Removing the zinc-contaminated soil eliminates the source of contamination to groundwater, and will thus minimize the time needed to operate the groundwater zinc recovery/treatment system. On average the treatment system recovers 600-700 pounds of zinc per month from the groundwater beneath the site. Since 2008, approximately 75,000 pounds of zinc has been recovered from groundwater and been kept from discharging to Red Clay Creek.

The partnership includes private developers, neighboring organizations and DNREC’s Divisions of Parks & Recreation, Waste & Hazardous Substances, Watershed Stewardship and Water. Partners include the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the EPA, local, state and federal legislators, business developers and strong support from neighboring property owners, as well as conservation and recreational organizations in the Yorklyn area. The collaboration is one of the most inventive undertaken in Delaware and serves as a national model for other similar projects.

To date, almost $8 million dollars of state funding has been spent to remediate the site, in addition to $1.6 million from FEMA for property acquisition, more than $800,000 in private loans from EPA and State HSCA funds to assist in asbestos removal and building demolition, and additional private funding for building demolition and restoration of an onsite office building.

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