Damakant Jayshi

Two city-owned contaminated properties in Wausau – Riverside Park and 1300 Cleveland Ave. – are still awaiting implementation of cleanup and other plans for each site, city officials said.

This came to light in the Department of Public Works and Utilities (DPW) Director’s Report to the Capital Improvements and Street Maintenance Committee of the City of Wausau on Thursday. No discussion took place on the director’s report.

Both sites, where toxic components have been found to exceed state’s regulatory standards, are slated to undergo remediation measures. But before any cleanup takes place, several steps need to be completed, including a buy-in from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The City Council must also approve the cleanup budget and bidding for the action to take place.

REI environmental consultants completed the Site Investigation Report (SIR) for Riverside Park and is now working on a Remedial Actions Options Report (RAOR), DPW’s Lindman told Wausau Pilot & Review.

As for 1300 Cleveland Ave., GEI, another environmental consultant, is preparing a final site investigation report. The roughly 7-acre property was finally taken off the list of sites being considered for DPW facilities expansion amid objections by residents and some local representatives.

However, the pace of work has been slow.

Lindman told CISM members that the city is prepared to move ahead with remediation measures at Riverside Park and said the DPW is confident that no further testing will be required before the remediation plan can move ahead. But that was in August.

Lindman also told Wausau Pilot & Review four months ago that REI had begun writing the report and was “researching the best remedial action options, which will be incorporated into the remediation plan to the DNR.” 

He rejected the notion that work on Riverside Park is behind schedule but admitted that the pace about the 1300 Cleveland Ave. property is slow. In mid-October the DPW director told CISM “GEI is currently tabulating results of the tests at 1300 Cleveland Avenue”.

“We have had progress on the Riverside Park site with the Wisconsin DNR approval of the SIR (Site Investigation Report) and now working toward the RAOR,” Lindman said. The Riverside RAOR will be used to establish documents for bidding the remediation work. The cost of the work will be brought to the Finance Committee and subsequently to the City Council for budget approval, the DPW director said, adding that cleanup is expected to begin by the spring of 2022.

Despite the slow progress on the Cleveland Avenue property, Lindman pointed out that the DNR “typically takes 45-60 days to respond formally so this tends to slow up progress.” Lindman added that 1300 Cleveland Ave. required a lot of sampling and also follow up sampling.