The City of Wilmington and Progress Energy Carolinas will begin a construction project that will restore a former industrial site and improve the Dram Tree Park and boat launch.
The project, which will begin in late January and be completed in mid-2010, will take place at the site of the former Wilmington manufactured gas plant (MGP) located at the intersection of Surry and Castle streets in Wilmington.
The project partners will host an open house Wednesday, Jan. 20, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Wilmington City Hall, located at 102 N. Third St. Representatives from the city, Progress Energy, DENR and the companies hired to assist with the project will be available to answer questions from residents.
Things to know:
- Dram Tree Park and boat ramp will be closed for the duration of the project.
- Surry Street will be closed to all traffic except local residents.
- Up to 30 trucks will travel to and from the site each day, hauling away soil.
- Potential “mothball” smell from the soil being removed from the site.
These odors do not present a health hazard and air quality will be monitored continuously to ensure protection of human health. In addition, site contractors might apply odor-suppressant foam if necessary.
Along with the cleanup project, the city will rebuild the Dram Tree boat launch and install a new parking lot for increased parking and public accessibility. The boat launch phase of the project should begin in late April and take approximately 60 days to complete.
The Wilmington MGP operated from approximately 1883 until 1957. Before natural gas or propane was widely available, from about 1850-1950, almost all the gas that was used for cooking, heating or lighting (e.g., streetlights) in cities was “coal gas,” created at local MGPs. They produced various waste materials – primarily coal tar – which were reused or sold by the gas plants as much as possible (for roofing tar, asphalt, fuel), but at that time it was a common, legal practice to dispose of any excess waste materials on site.
The cleanup project is the result of years of planning and is approved by the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).