Environmental remediation was an important first step toward readying the old cotton mill in Downtown Greensboro for conversion to energy-efficient, affordable homes for working families that preserves an important aspect of our community’s past.
More than one million dollars have been invested by Greensboro Mill LP, the property’s owner, to investigate and clean up the property, which had been impacted by historic operations of the mill.
Since 2005, environmental conditions have been investigated at the site in cooperation with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division’s (EPD’s) Brownfield program.
Soil, groundwater, surface waters and stream sediments have been tested for metals, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs). Soils in some areas of the site were found to have levels of lead and SVOCs above acceptable levels, related to historic industrial activities and, later, to lead-based paint flaking from painted surfaces at the old mill. These values were mainly found in the upper soil strata. Lead-based paint and asbestos were detected in some of the old building materials and structures. Asbestos removal and lead-based paint removal or encapsulation have been completed in the structures and surrounding soils. Sampling of onsite groundwater and of water in a small creek located on the northern portion of the site has not identified any contaminants above standard risk levels. Stream sediment samples have sporadically contained chemicals above Risk Reduction Standards, including some upgradient samples that would not have originated from the mill. We conducted additional testing following construction and removed some soils and stream sediment in January 2017. Soils were replaced by clean fill from an offsite source.
Remediation of the impacted soils began in 2006 when EPD approved a Corrective Action Plan (CAP). A revised CAP was approved in 2014 and then again in early 2017 following the discovery of additional contamination. Some soils were removed to approved disposal sites. Other areas were encapsulated on-site below concrete or asphalt. This nearly impermeable remedy prevents leaching of storm water and protects residents from contact with any impacted soils. The paved areas are now parking and walkways for residents.
Impacted soil outside of the paved areas has been removed to either the contained, capped areas on the property, disposed of off-site at an approved Subtitle D landfill, or covered with clean fill and posted with markers.
Asbestos abatement of the buildings on the property was completed as was removal or encapsulation of lead-based paint has been completed. Because of the historic significance of the old water tower on the property, the lead-based paint on its surface was scraped off by hand and any remaining lead-based paint was encapsulated.
The property owner submitted a final-compliance status report (CSR) to the EPD, one of the last steps in the remediation process. The state agency has approved every step of the Mary- Leila Lofts remediation.
The Corrective Action Plan can be viewed at the Greene County Public Library, 610 Main Street.
2015 interview with Gary Hammond during remediation phase of redevelopment.
Historic water tower was cleaned, scraped and repainted.