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January 3, 2014     Cape Gazette
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January 3, 2014

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22 FRIDAY, JANUARY 3- MONDAY, JANUARY 6, 2014 NEWS Cape Gazette Pickle plant Continued from page I what is going on, they would walk away. Vlasic had a hard time with wastewater discharge; we can't imagine how Allen Harim will be able to deal with it." Robert Newsome, a DNREC public information officer, said it's not unusual for decisions to be made within a few days fol- lowing hearings. "There is no standard for tim- ing," he said. In his eight-page approval or- der, O'Mara noted the extensive environmental testing that was conducted at the site. "The plan is supported by a vast amount of data and analysis in the record of decision," he wrote. "The department's ap- proval of the plan as a final plan will allow the remedial action to commence, which is in the best interest of the public." O'Mara said the results of the ongoing groundwater monitor- ing will be made available to the public. The secretary noted that many public comments opposed the proposed redevelopment of the property as a poultry-processing plant. "The department understands the concerns of nearby residen- tial property owners not wanting the closed industrial plant to be used for another industrial operation, but the future use of the site is not within the depart- ment's authority to determine," O'Mara wrote. "Sussex County government has the exclusive authority to determine if poultry production is a land use consistent with its zoning. The department's role is to ensure that the land is environ- mentally safe from contaminants for its intended use, and the plan indicates that it will be." In his recommendation to O'Mara, hearing officer Robert Haynes. wrote: "I find that the RON MACARTHUR PHOTO ALLEN HARIM FOODS LLC has plans to convert the former Vlas- ic pickle plant near Millsboro into a poultry-processing plant. department's plan is a reasonable and sound method of environ- mental remediation of the site. I find that the record supports approval of the plan based upon the data from a comprehensive site investigation." Haynes said the remediation plan's monitoring wells would protect nearby residents who were concerned about ground- water contamination spreading from the site. He said if monitor- ing results show migration of contaminants, other action will be required. "The remedial action may in- clude offsite wells and new wells as determined appropriate from the testing," he wrote. Members of Protecting Our Indian River say pollutants have already migrated from the Vlasic site. "We have presented proof there is a plume of contamina- tion that is spreading from the site," Wilton said. Haynes said while Sussex County officials determined the site's suitability for use as a poultry plant, it's DNREC's re- sponsibility to issue permits for air, water and wastes. The public will have an opportunity to com- ment on each permit application. Wilton said a team from Brockovich Research & Con- sulting will return to the area in ]anuary to conduct more thor- ough water testing for metals in residential wells around the plant site. "This is something DNREC should be doing," she said. Nearby residents of the Pos- sum Point community, concerned about pollutants left behind by Vlasic, contacted Erin Brockov- ich's consulting firm for help. Brockovich is an environmental activist whose fight against in- dustrial pollution was recounted in the movie "Erin Brockovich." Appeal will delay process This stage of the appeal pro- cess could delay a decision for more than half a year. Depending on the outcome of the initial appeal, further de- lays are possible with appeals of board decisions to Superior Court and Delaware Supreme Court, said Gall Henderson, the board's administrative assistant. Once the appeal deadline passes, the board has 30 days to schedule a hearing that must take place within six months. The appeals hearing resembles a courtroom proceeding, Hender- son said, with a court reporter, witnesses, presentations of evi- dence and cross-examinations. "The public can attend, but there is no public comment," she said. Sussex County members of the seven-member board include Michael Horsey of Laurel and Gordon Wood of Ocean View. Deputy Attorney General Frank Broujos represents the board, and another deputy at- torney general will be assigned to represent DNREC. If the ap- peal is filed by an individual, an attorney is not required, but an attorney is required to represent an organization, Henderson said. After the proceeding, the board will meet in executive session and come into public session to render its decision to deny or ap- prove the appeal or remand the issue back to DNREC. "Typically, everything takes place the same day," Henderson said, although some proceedings have lasted longer. The board's decision can be appealed to Superior Court with- in 30 days. British Pub Reborn OPEN DAILY AT 11 A.M. Happy Hour Served 3 - 6 Monday - Friday Call to book your holiday & private dinner parties. Sunday Brunch 11-3 2012 December - Vlasic plant closes after nearly four decades of operation 2013 March 8 - Phase I env[fbi~mental assessment of site is completed A~ril 2 - Seoul, South Korea-based Allen Harim Foods announces plans to invest $100 million to convert the Vlasic pickle plant to a poultry- processing plant and create as many as 700 jobs April 24 - Phase II subsurface environmental investigation study is completed July 11 - Allen Harim applies for state brownfield certification July 17 - Public notice of brownfield application is published Aug. 5 - Site is designated a certified brownfield Aug. 22 - Rep. John Atkins and Sen. Gerald Hocker voice support of proposed poultry project Aug. 26 - DNREC and Allen Harim enter into brownfield agreement Aug. 28 - Sept. 16 - Public comment period open for brownfield agreement Sept. 23 - Sussex County Board of Adjustment approves an application filed by Allen Harim Foods for a special-use exception for a potentially hazardous use - poultry- processing facility Nov. 21 - Community Involvement Advisory Council holds information session for residents Nov. 22 - Draft environmental investigation re port of site corn pleted Nov. 25 - Final investigation plan submitted Nov. 27 - Public notice on hearing for brownfield remediation plan published Dec. 17 - Hearing on brownfield remediation plan takes place in Millsboro Dec. 24 - DNREC announces adoption of brownfield remediation plan for long-term monitoring for groundwater at the site; 20-day appeal process is put into place First &Baltimore I 302 227 6237I OPEN WEEKENDS 19178 Coastal Hwy I 302 644 7711I OPEN 7 DAYS Catch Cape moments on