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BREAKING NEWS: After Frisco advocacy group raises concerns about toxic contamination found in and near Stewart Creek and impact on proposed Grand Park plans, City decides to take in public concerns, input

FRISCO ENTERPRISE

Frisco to take public input on Stewart Creek cleanup

The city of Frisco will hold public input meetings prior to the remediation of Stewart Creek. Battery chips and potentially hazardous materials were recently found near the creek in several areas in the city. Photo by Kelsey Kruzich.

By Anthony Tosie, atosie@starlocalnews.com@anthonytosie on Twitter

Published: Friday, July 19, 2013 3:30 PM CDT
Last week, an environmental advocacy group raised concerns about contamination found near Stewart Creek and the impact it would have on the city’s proposed 275-acre regional park. According to city officials, those concerns will be accepted during a public input phase.

Frisco Unleaded issued statements following a public information request that revealed the city has tested and found contamination along Stewart Creek. That contamination is believed to originate from the Exide Technologies battery recycling plant, which is located near a portion of the creek.

As part of the results of its testing and visual surveying along Stewart Creek, the city is entering a voluntary cleanup program monitored by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Through that process, the city will remediate Stewart Creek prior to Grand Park’s development.

Mack Borchardt, who is overseeing the Exide cleanup as a special assistant to the city manager, said the cleanup of Stewart Creek will take into account public concerns.

“We will test and remediate — we’ll do whatever we need to meet or exceed current Frisco logorequirements,” he said. “In this process, unlike the cleanup required for the Exide property, there is no requirement for a public input phase. We do plan, however, to provide an opportunity for public input and will include that in the timeline for the voluntary cleanup program for Grand Park. We are developing a comprehensive set of information, we will make the public aware of this information, and we will benefit from the public input into the process.”

Testing and sampling along Stewart Creek is an ongoing process, Borchardt said, and one the city believes is fully transparent.

“We are committed to providing accurate and complete information to agencies and to the public,” he said. “As sampling takes place, the data retrieved is analyzed, combined with other information and ultimately a report can be generated.”

When the report is generated, it becomes a public document when it is submitted to the TCEQ, Borchardt said, and work continues until the project meets the agency’s requirements.

Borchardt emphasized that any battery chips or potentially hazardous waste found on land that will be used for Grand Park will be fully cleaned prior to development on the proposed park. That includes not just the park itself, but any contamination found on the entire site, such as the entrance and any parking lots.

At joint meetings held by the Frisco City Council and its Grand Park subcommittee, city officials have said they plan to conduct extensive testing of the park’s proposed site, and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers will also do its own testing before approving the plans for the man-made lake.

A specialized fabric that was considered for a previous cleanup near the abandoned Stewart Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant won’t be used anywhere on the Grand Park site, Borchardt said.

“We have no scenario that indicates the fabric will be used as a solution in Grand Park — that’s not a course of action we’re even considering,” he said. “The methods to be used in Grand Park have not been developed, but geomembrane fabric is not — and has not ever — been anticipated as a solution for Grand Park.”

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