Head of 100 Bridge St. remediation plan to be on hand on Tuesday

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GREAT BARRINGTON — The man handling cleanup of a polluted Great Barrington site will take questions Tuesday.

Tim Snay of Ransom Consulting Inc. will attend a meeting of the Community Development Corp. of the Southern Berkshires at 6 p.m. at the Great Barrington Fire Station at 37 State Road.

The corporation plans to develop the southerly 2 acres of 100 Bridge St.'s 8 acres for affordable housing. The corporation will leave development of the remaining 6 acres for later.

Snay will oversee the cleanup under terms set by the Department of Environmental Protection.

The site, formerly home of a New England Log Homes factory, is contaminated with dioxins and pentachlorophenol, or PCPs. Dealing with environmental contamination on the site has been controversial, especially after the DEP halted an experimental "bioremediation" plan in 2014.

The corporation's new plan was filed Jan. 3 after the DEP rejected an earlier one. The DEP found that the earlier plan did not clean up the entire site in advance of construction.

The new one calls for clean soil on the south and west ends of the property.

Tim Geller, the corporation's executive director, said the comment period has been extended to Feb. 1 from Jan. 23.

The extension stems from restarting a 20-day comment period, Geller said in a press release.

At a Jan. 12 meeting, members of the public challenged Geller on the corporation's plans for the cleanup and the site's suitability for affordable housing.

Tim Gray of the Housatonic River Initiative suggested the department rethink its decision to allow the corporation to put lower income people on the contaminated site.

"I think they owe us an explanation," he said.

Geller defended the corporation.

"The last thing we'd do is put low income families in harm," he said. "We're improving their lives."

Benjamin Naylor, an environmental engineer from Lee, spoke at the request of activist Elizabeth Orenstein.

"It may be better to have some remediation now than none," he said. "You must take the developer seriously. What is feasible is ultimately up to the developer and the public."

Reach staff writer Eoin Higgins at 413-496-6236 or @BE_EoinHiggins.

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