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Concrete removal under way

Anyone driving down South Third Street during the day may have heard a rhythmic thump.

It’s not a band practicing, but rather the first step of the third phase of getting the old Intermet/Ironton Iron industrial site cleaned up for commercial development.

“Right now, they are in there busting up concrete,” said Ironton Mayor Rich Blankenship. “It’s the first of many steps.”

It will be a couple months of work because much of the 25-acre site is covered with concrete. Some of it was the floor of buildings, other driveways, parking spaces and walkways.

“There is a lot of it,” Blankenship said.

Once the concrete is ground up, it will be used to level off the ground.

The next steps will include taking down a couple of the remaining buildings.

The cleanup of the site is a long time coming. Former Ironton Mayor John Elam began the process four years ago when he spoke with Dave Schmitt of Cors & Bassett. In early 2007, the city announced it was getting nearly $2.5 million from the Ohio Department of Development’s Office of Urban Development fund to clean up the site.

In December, Mark Rhinehart of SRW Environmental Services said that as far as brownfield sites go, the old Intermet/Ironton Iron site is a pretty easy cleanup.

“This is relatively straightforward,” he said. “It’s relatively clean for 100 years worth of heavy industrial activity. You’d expect to find more.”

He said there is a small soil remediate of PCBs, which comes from electrical transformers and some groundwater that will be treated to remove an industrial solvent in the center of the property.

And if all goes well, the site should be ready for commercial development by Christmas.