Takoma Junction Storefront Environmental Clean-Up Status, December 19, 2011

A couple of Takoma Junction storefronts — the former TJ’s Market at the corner of Carroll and Grant and the former Glad Rags site a couple of doors down — have now been vacant for quite some time, unleaseable pending completion of environmental measures to address soil and groundwater contamination with dry-cleaning solvents.

Property owner Thomas L. Oliff enrolled the properties in the State of Maryland’s Volunteer Clean-up Program back in 2008. Progress has been slow, but there’s good news: Mr. Oliff’s response action plan (RAP) was approved by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) on November 21, 2011 — to cover underslab venting that would intercept vapors emanating from the soil and ground water — with plan implementation slated to begin within 60 days of the November 22 date on which approval was transmitted to the applicant, Mr. Oliff.

Thanks to Barbara Brown, section head with the MDE’s Voluntary Cleanup Program, for providing a status update and a copy of Mr. Oliff’s filing.

Once venting is in place, the property owner would take periodic samples to measure vapors in the property. (I note that the Implementation Schedule on page 9 says monitoring would start 30 days after Subslab Depressurization (SSD) system installation.) According to Ms Brown, he time it would take to reach acceptable levels depends on solvent levels under the slab and on the effectiveness of the venting. A month would be usual, at which time the properties could be rented for commercial use.

According to Ms Brown, the property owner will also need to do off-site investigation to ensure that the solvents aren’t creating an off-site problem. The investigation would not affect the usability of the properties. (Per page 3 of the RAP, “Off-site groundwater investigation is being conducted as required by the MDE, and is not part of the VCP RAP.”)

I’m sure we’re all hoping for quick progress so the storefronts can be renovated as needed and leased.

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