Is a Superfund site safe for a jail?

Is a Superfund site safe for a jail?

Site: Escambia Wood - Pensacola

Author: Pensacola News Journal

Submitted: October 25, 2015

Visits: 483


There is a vast field in the heart of Pensacola where green grass is surrounded by chain-link fences and weeds poke out from short, cracked slabs of road that lead nowhere.

 

The property was once at the center of a thriving community with hundreds of households. The land, 26 acres northwest of the intersection of Palafox Street and Fairfield Drive, was also home to a wood treating company that contaminated an underground aquifer and hundreds of thousands of tons of soil.The property was once at the center of a thriving community with hundreds of households. The land, 26 acres northwest of the intersection of Palafox Street and Fairfield Drive, was also home to a wood treating company that contaminated an underground aquifer and hundreds of thousands of tons of soil.

 

The Environmental Protection Agency designated the location as a Superfund site and eventually moved 358 families out of the area because cleaning the site with citizens nearby risked exposing them to toxic dust. The exodus was the third largest permanent Superfund relocation in the nation's history, and in total about 70 acres of land in center of Pensacola have stood largely abandoned ever since.

 

However, the property could soon become home to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Escambia County residents. And they may not have any choice in the matter after next month.

 

A portion of the Superfund cleanup area, dubbed the Mid-Town Commerce site, is the No. 1 contender to house a new Escambia Jail, at least according to the rankings of a consulting firm hired to plan the facility's construction. The proposed jail facility would stand on about 30 acres north of Hickory Street, and a parking lot would be built on a capped area south of Hickory Street.

 

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