Port Wentworth: ‘Free’ Land Not Free of Contamination

26 08 2008

By Summer Teal Simpson (The Creative Coast)

A land donation to the city of Port Wentworth has turned out to be less than the gift that former city officials had bargained for.

The half-acre lot on Ga. 21 is contaminated from what is believed to be a leaking underground fuel tank, the remnant of a former gasoline station, according to city and environmental officials.

The discovery was made last fall after Wendell Lovett contracted in September with the city to buy the property. Before closing the deal, an engineering firm conducted an environmental assessment and found the property was “extremely contaminated,” according to a memo Lovett’s attorney, Christopher Klein, sent to the city.

The firm, Whitaker Laboratory Inc., reported the presence of chemicals such as benzene, which was found at levels 52 times the Georgia Environmental Protection Division’s maximum limit, in the soil and the groundwater.

Lovett terminated the contract after the discovery but offered in January to consider a new contract that would reflect the cost of cleaning up the site.

Lovett wouldn’t comment.

Read on here.

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