Chambers County Development Authority preparing to have Lanett Mill site cleaned

Published 10:00 am Friday, May 6, 2022

About a month ago, the Chambers County Development Authority applied for and received a $100,000 federal grant from the EPA’s Brownfields Program to have the old Lanett Mill site on Highway 29 assessed for hazards and cleaned up. The CCDA is now participating in the EPA’s Targeted Brownfields Assessment (TBA) program. The EPA states that this program helps “minimize the uncertainties of contamination often associated with brownfield sites.”

“A brownfield site is basically a vacated mill site, and we call the Lanett Mill site a brownfield because, obviously, there was a lot of chemicals that were used in the early textile days there,” CCDA Executive Director Valerie Gray explained.

Gray said she has executed an access agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency, which gives it legal permission to access the site when it chooses to. To her knowledge, the EPA hasn’t visited the site this week. She said it will assess the site, identifying potential hazards before the CCDA develops it further. After the EPA assesses the site, it will assist the Development Authority with developing a plan to begin cleaning it and dispose of potentially hazardous materials properly.

“There’s still some debris from where the buildings were torn down, and we worked with the city for about the past two years to get all the remnants that had been dispersed all over the site,” Gray said. “We’ve tried to get it cleaned up as much as possible without having to go any further with permitting. And now, this TBA will allow us to secure the proper permits to dispose of any materials legally and safely.”

Gray said the assessment phase of the project will take about six months, after which the site will be cleaned up and developed.

“Our plans are to build a commercial and recreational multi-use development there,” Gray said.

She said she couldn’t give details on the development until the CCDA determines what areas on the site can be developed; a portion of it is in a flood zone, meaning nothing can be built there.

For more information on TBAs, visit https://www.epa.gov and search for “Targeted Brownfields Assessments.”