By Nick Worth
Following a site inventory last summer, 16 properties in the City of Holbrook were identified as potentially eligible for an Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) to detect the presence of lead-based paint (LBP) and asbestos containing material (ACM).
The properties were identified by the Cardno ATC company in an inventory that was completed July 21. The purpose of the inventory was to identify properties that might be eligible for paid assessments under the Route 66 Brownfields Coalition Community-Wide Assessment Grant issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The coalition consists of the cities of Holbrook, Winslow and Flagstaff, and Coconino and Navajo counties. The grant is administered by Allwyn Environmental of Glendale.
According to the EPA website, Brownfields are “Abandoned, idled, or under used industrial and commercial facilities/sites where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination. They can be in urban, suburban, or rural areas.”
The EPA’s Brownfields initiative is designed to help communities mitigate potential health risks and restore the economic viability of such areas or properties.
The Route 66 corridor was chosen as a good place to apply the Brownfields initiative because when Interstate 40 bypassed more than 200 miles of Route 66 in 1966, it resulted in cultural changes that, in turn, resulted in the closures of many small businesses, most notably service stations.
Two of the identified properties in Holbrook belong to the City of Holbrook, including an equipment shed in the old Bucket of Blood Saloon at 101 Bucket of Blood St, and a site identified as a former bath house at 200 E. Iowa St.
Both city properties are potentially eligible for ACM and LBP assessments at a cost of $3,000 each, to be paid by the grant monies.
The other identified properties, their locations, the type of assessments recommended and the dollar amount of the assessment are:
* Rainbow Bread Company at 907 North Second Street, Phase I ESA, ACM & LBP, $5,500.
* A&B Dusty River Antiques at 105 or 111 Bucket of Blood St., ACM & LBP, $3,000.
* Horsehead Crossing Deli & Ice Cream Parlor at 112 Bucket of Blood St., ACM & LBP, $3,000.
* Young T Co. at 200 Bucket of Blood St., ACM & LBP, $6,000.
* Double D Tire Corral at 317 W. Hopi Drive, Phase I ESA, $3,000.
* Capital Gas at 709 W. Hopi Drive, Phase I ESA, ACM & LBP, $6,000.
* Sun West Trading Post at 905 W. Hopi Drive, Phase I ESA, ACM & LBP, $5,500.
* Tag’s Power Equipment at 1109 W. Hopi Drive, Phase I ESA, ACM & LBP, $5,500.
* Rainbow Rock Shop, Tom Burns Cleaners at 101 Navajo Blvd., Phase I ESA, ACM & LBP, $6,000.
* The Navajo Inn at 464 Navajo Blvd., Phase I ESA, ACM & LBP, $8,000.
* Pow Wow Trading Post at 752 Navajo Blvd., Phase I ESA, ACM & LBP, $10,000.
* 1939 Service Station (tire repair/auto accessories) at 2222 Navajo Blvd., Phase I ESA, ACM & LBP, $5,500.
* Abby’s Petrified Wood Company, Old 66 Trading Post at 2412 Navajo Blvd., Phase I ESA, ACM & LBP, $10,000.
* Arizona Rancho Inn at 57 Tovar, ACM & LBP, $17,000.
Property owners are not required to have the assessment done.
“We’re not going to force anyone to have an assessment done,” said Holbrook City Clerk Cher Reyes. “We’ll just ask them.”
She noted that if a property owner decides to have the assessment done, there is no cost, as it is covered under the grant. However, if the owner decides in the future to sell the property or remodel it, an assessment would have to be performed and the property owner would have to pay for it.
According to a flier on the project, the cost savings to property owners can be significant.
“Phase I ESAs typically cost between $1,800 and $3,500, and Phase II ESAs can cost upwards of $50,000 or more,” reads the flier. “These costs will be covered through the use of grant funding under the Brownfields Redevelopment Program.”
Another advantage to the assessment is the property owners will know exactly what issues exist and how severe the problem is.
“If they did an assessment and you then knew you had asbestos or lead-based paint, the assessment will tell if it’s friable or non-friable,” Reyes said.
Reyes also said there are no reporting requirements with the assessments.
At the Nov. 13 Holbrook City Council meeting, Krista Perry of Allwyn Environmental said if the found ACM or LBP material is left in place and undisturbed, it is not required to be cleaned up.
The exceptions occur when there is an underground storage tank present, when groundwater is impacted, or when human health or the environment is threatened.
According to a background document from the Flagstaff City Council meeting at which Allwyn was approved as the grant overseer, there are over 1,100 known underground storage tanks in the project area, about 40 percent of which have leaked, and an estimated total of 1,540 Brownfields sites that may be contaminated with petroleum products and heavy metals, as well as ACM and LBP.
The document goes on to state that the recycling of Brownfields is seen as a tool to “retain, expand, and diversify the economic base of Flagstaff.” It notes that abandoned and contaminated properties are unproductive, detract from property values city-wide and foster sprawl, which adds expense to the delivery of services and infrastructure.”
It states the ESAs are “a tool to help businesses stay in Flagstaff and to attract new businesses to Flagstaff.” There are 27 motels in Flagstaff alone that are eligible for, or are listed on, the National Register of Historic Places. The document states the properties have the potential to be exploited for heritage tourism.
“Heritage tourists stay longer, do more and spend more than other tourists–approximately 50 percent more,” the document states. “There is great economic potential for these areas, including redevelopment, infill, tourism, heritage tourism and more; however, the specter of unknown environmental hazards has hindered redevelopment.”
The process for the grant requires the EPA to approve each of the 16 properties as being eligible for assessments. The next step is to get access agreements from the property owners. Both these steps have to be accomplished before the contract with EEC is signed and the assessments can begin.
According to Reyes, so far two of the 16 Holbrook properties have been approved by the EPA for assessments.
By Nick Worth