STERLING – An agreement between Stanley Black & Decker and the city for the donation of the Stanley National building has been amended.
The City Council approved the new pact Monday; it updates the original entered into in April 2014. The city decided to back Stanley’s proposed remedial action plan that now will be submitted to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. The IEPA must approve the company’s environmental cleanup plan before the building can be given to the city.
It had been hoped that soil contamination at the site could be treated and left there, but additional testing has determined that the affected soil must be taken to a hazardous waste landfill.
The biggest complication, however, is that the contaminated areas are close to a boiler house building and the seawall along the Rock River. To remove soil in those places would pose a risk to the structure, and more important, the integrity of the seawall.
Stanley will try to get a technical impracticability waiver from IEPA that would allow the company to leave the soil in place near the seawall and boiler house foundation.
“Stanley is trying to get approval to encapsulate the chemicals and continue to monitor it,” Mayor Skip Lee said. “Most of the contamination can be hauled away, but in those two spots, there’s the potential hazard of the building falling or the seawall collapsing.”
If the regulators approve the proposal, waiver request included, it will trigger the execution of the donation agreement and the city would finally take possession of the building.
If the proposed plan is denied, Stanley would keep the property and be forced to come up with a new remediation plan, which would be a disheartening result for city planners.
“That scenario, even with the city’s support, is a real possibility that would further prolong redevelopment efforts,” City Manager Scott Shumard said.
Because of the waiver request, the agreement also includes an amendment that better protects the city’s financial interests. If the two problem areas aren’t completely cleaned up, it could pose a risk for the city later. City attorneys negotiated a clause that protects the city from responsibility in the waiver areas for a period of 4 years from the date IEPA officially signs off on the site.
“We wanted to make sure we didn’t take possession of the building and get caught holding the bag – managing that property will be a big enough responsibility,” Lee said.
The donation agreement calls for Stanley to take on responsibility for any pollutants outside the building as well as maintenance of the structure. The city will then take care of any indoor contaminants, which it believe are minimal.
If Stanley’s proposed plan is approved, the city could take ownership of the building as soon as the first quarter of next year, Lee said.