Harriman plans recreation area at riverfront Superfund site

Harriman plans recreation area at riverfront Superfund site

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A pulp and paper mill operated on the site until 2002. A pulp and paper mill operated on the site until 2002.
"In the future we'll be able to look at having more recreation down here after it's cleaned up, maybe a marina, but more waterfront that we can actually use is what we are hoping for, public use," said Harriman Mayor Chris Mason. "In the future we'll be able to look at having more recreation down here after it's cleaned up, maybe a marina, but more waterfront that we can actually use is what we are hoping for, public use," said Harriman Mayor Chris Mason.
The site has riverfront access and views of the Emory River. The site has riverfront access and views of the Emory River.
"For us retired people, we like to walk and exercise and enjoy the scenery and the river," said Larry Cole. "For us retired people, we like to walk and exercise and enjoy the scenery and the river," said Larry Cole.

By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

HARRIMAN (WATE) - An old pulp and paper mill site has been added to the EPA's National Priorities List.

It's part of Superfund, the federal government program to clean-up the nation's uncontrolled hazardous waste sites.

The site is the former home of the Clinch River Corporation. It sits on around 40 acres of land on the banks of the Emory River in Harriman just a few blocks away from Harriman High School.

Larry Cole was born and raised in Harriman. Five days a week he walks three miles at River Front Park.

"For us retired people, we like to walk and exercise and enjoy the scenery and the river," said Cole.

But the park is next to around 40 acres of additional riverfront property that's been tested as toxic.

According to the EPA, investigations found extensive contamination in the soil and ground water.

Byproducts of the manufacturing process called "black liquor" and piles of wastepaper were also discovered.

Due to the hazardous material, the EPA has added this site along the Emory River to the EPA's list of Superfund sites.

Harriman Mayor Chris Mason said the city has worked for six years to get assistance to help clean up the area.

"The EPA is going to come in and help in the clean-up with the federal government and they'll try to seek the clean-up costs through the current owners," said Mayor Mason.

The mayor says clean-up of the site could take up to seven years and between $500,000 and $1 million, but he's looking forward to the long-term end result.

"In the future we'll be able to look at having more recreation down here after it's cleaned up, maybe a marina, but more waterfront that we can actually use is what we are hoping for, public use," said Mayor Mason.

Mayor Mason says after the area is safe and cleaned up the city will likely approach the owners to see if they will sell the land. He says Harriman is lucky to have the water front property and wants all residents to be able to use it. Cole hopes his favorite park is one day expanded.

"Be a community and enjoy the facilities that we have especially the river here and the facilities we are looking forward to it," said Cole.

Mayor Mason says the two tracks of land are currently owned by two private owners. The EPA will require the owners to pay for the clean-up. Clean-up could start with-in a year.

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