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1967 Chevy recovered at Bemidji Regional Event Center site

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1967 Chevy recovered at Bemidji Regional Event Center site
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

Workers have expected to uncover some unknown areas of contamination during event center site work.

But they didn't expect to uncover an entire vehicle.

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A 1967 Chevrolet was found completely buried in the ground about two weeks ago near the south entrance for the Bemidji Regional Event Center, said Greg Judge, the project superintendent.

The Chevy, which was not salvageable, was discovered during site work at the site of the old turntables, Judge noted.

There was no engine, no fuel tank and no glass.

"It was crunched up pretty good," Judge said, explaining that the vehicle was taken away the same day it was found.

So how did they know it was a '67?

"I'm 67 years old," Judge said. "I remember them."

Aside from the Chevy, there hasn't been a lot of interesting items uncovered, he said. Some railroad tracks, railroad ties, a license plate from 1953.

Environmental work

Several areas of contamination have been uncovered during site work at the BREC site, according to a memo from Brian Ross with Widseth Smith Nolting to the city of Bemidji.

The memo, sent Thursday, identifies and summarizes each area of contamination.

- Two areas of contaminated soil stockpiled by Shorequest during the excavation of the footings and piping in 2007 were moved from the BREC footprint. The 1,200 cubic yards of soil will be used as controlled fill under the west parking area.

- The former turntable area had some petroleum and metals contamination in the soil 4-6 feet below grade from railroad car use. The area, planned to be the main entrance of the BREC, was excavated and the 400 cubic yards of contaminated soils will be used as controlled fill under a parking area.

- The former roundhouse area had some petroleum and metals contamination in the soil 4-6 feet below grade from maintenance of railroad cars. The 500 cubic yards of soil from the area, part of the BREC footprint, will be used as controlled fill under the west parking lot.

- The first area of unknown contamination, which was expected to be encountered, was a burial area for cinder, coal, metal and asbestos insulation. Planned to be the south end of the entrance for the BREC, the area included 250 cubic yards of material in addition to 4 yards of bagged asbestos insulation that appears to have been properly removed and bagged by a licensed contractor. The 250 yards of material will be used as controlled fill under the west parking area.

- The area planned to be the east side of the BREC, the former burn pit area, had bottles, broken glass, melted materials and blackened soil. The 200 cubic yards of contaminated soil and materials were removed and will be spread in the west parking area.

- During excavation of the retention pond east of the BREC, workers uncovered a burial area for railroad ties which resulted in contamination of adjacent soils with creosote. The 100 cubic yards of railroad ties will be hauled off-site and disposed. Another 250 cubic yards of contaminated soil will be under west parking areas.

- Areas used by Georgia Pacific for drainage had petroleum and metals contamination from run-off between the plant and Mill Pond. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency requires that the area be excavated and removed; 250 cubic yards of soil was removed from the west drainage area and 100 cubic yards of soil was removed from the east drainage area. The soil will be used as controlled fill under the west parking area.

- During excavation for the BREC footings, some remaining concrete footing areas and piping were found in the former roundhouse area. The materials are being demolished and removed.

- During compaction test borings in the BREC footprint of the former oil house area, workers encountered petroleum odors in soil from the groundwater interface 8 feet below grade. The soils had a sheen and diesel odor. The contamination is believed to be limited, but further investigation may be necessary after discussions with the MPCA.

bwesley@bemidjipioneer.com

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Pioneer staff reports
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