The next phase of the clean-up process at the former Gerrish Motors site is now underway in Woodstock’s East End.
A total of 850 tons of contaminated soil is being removed from the site, according to Project Manager Dana Arey of Pathways Consulting in Lebanon, NH. The removal will be completed by Friday, and the workers will take another day or so to backfill the large holes with clean soil. The dirty soil will be taken to a landfill in Moretown, Arey said. Pathways Consulting is working for W.B. Development, whom Arey said is now addressing the environmental issues at the site.
For much of the past decade, the state and several contractors have worked to reduce the size of the contamination plume from an old petroleum leak at the site. By December 2008, oxygen injection into the soil had reduced the plume by 60 to 70 percent, according to Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation records. Related efforts have been ongoing for the past several years.
Woodstock Zoning Administrator Michael Brands said no building permits have been issued for the site, nor are there any proposals in the works. Gerrish Honda Dealer Kurt Gerrish is still the owner of the parcel, Brands said. No new construction can occur on the site until the clean-up process is complete. The State of Vermont is the judge of when that work is considered complete.
In the midst of periodic legal wrangling, there have been inquiries and reported overtures over the years from grocery store chains that might be interested in building on the site but, to date, none of those interests have formally entered into negotiations for the property.
The old Gerrish Motors site has become a rather well-known East End eyesore over the years as it sits on the left when entering Woodstock Village from the East.
In 1985, the news broke that petroleum pollution from the site had contaminated a neighboring parcel and a nearby stream. Numerous studies have led to a complex clean-up process, and due to the complexities and costs, very few possible prospects for development of the site.
Woodstock Early Bird will keep you posted on the clean-up as more details emerge.