Land Revitalization Summer '06 Newsletter – Building a Library on Bristol's Blue Grass Roots
A downtown revitalization project in Bristol, Virginia now includes a grand library expansion. The Bristol Public Library expansion is built on a former petroleum contaminated site that has been cleaned up.
Bristol, Virginia is the smaller of two cities named Bristol on the Virginia/Tennessee border. These two towns are united in the downtown revitalization projects. The expansion of the library was built on the Virginia side, but it will benefit townspeople from both communities.
The library is the center piece of the cities' redevelopment plans. Other components include a greenway, which is completed, and a country and folk music museum, which is in the planning stages.
To prepare for the library expansion, the city did an environmental assessment and then went to the Department of Environmental Quality's (DEQ) Southwest regional office for advice.
DEQ worked with the city to expedite the investigation and provided funds for the site characterization. They were anticipating petroleum contamination since the site was once a service garage. Levels of pollution were not found that would warrant a corrective action by the State if soils were to remain in place. Although no tanks were found in the site characterization, tanks were found and removed mid-way through the project. With the need to excavate for the new building, the city addressed the contaminated soils, further helping to protect the environment. Fortunately, the city has set aside funds for the environmental cleanup.
The project progressed smoothly with collaboration between DEQ, the city, its consultants, and its contractors. The state is also currently monitoring the groundwater to make sure the cleanup goals at the site are maintained.
"DEQ applauds the efforts of the City of Bristol, Va. and Tenn. to redevelop this petroleum contaminated site and appreciates the collaborative effort of all involved with this project," said Vince Maiden, DEQ's Office of Spill Response and Remediation.
The library construction has been completed and officially reopened April 5, 2006.
The two cities wisely incorporated several sustainable ideas in their new library. By using the existing library, the city was able to make the project more affordable. By using regional hardwoods, the revitalization project is supporting local sustainable forest efforts. They also included a very smart contingency - - passive vapor system. Pipes were put in place, beneath the new library wing, just in case a vapor intrusion problem might arise. If vapor intrusion occurred, vacuum pressure could be applied to the pipes and redirect the vapors so they would not go into the library.
This year, Bristol is celebrating its 150th anniversary. Bristol is a Tennessee Valley town, graced with hills and hollows and watered by several small streams. U.S. Interstate 81 bisects the community from North to South. It is full of history and known for its bluegrass music.
To find out more about Virginia DEQ's petroleum storage tank program and funds that are available for assessment and cleanup see: http://www.deq.state.va.us/tanks/
Also, see information about DEQ's brownfields program. http://www.deq.virginia.gov/brownfieldweb/homepage.html
In another story in this issue, we discuss Va. DEQ's recently developed process to make it easier for communities to find out if they are eligible to apply for EPA brownfields funding to assess and cleanup petroleum sites.