Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Remediation and Improvement Plans Announced for Historic Ancarrow’s Landing

~ Project completion targeted for end of 2014 ~


The City of Richmond today announced that ExxonMobil is submitting plans for the remediation and improvement of historic Ancarrow’s Landing, part of the James River Park System.  Before 1865, the site had supported transportation for local merchants; from the mid-1920s to 1962 it housed a Virginia Carolina Chemical Corporation (VCC) facility that mixed fertilizer, which resulted in soil contamination from lead and arsenic. Current conditions pose no risk to current receptors.

Exxon Mobil Oil Corporation, a successor company to VCC through a merger, has voluntarily committed to the site’s cleanup and improvement efforts.

“The City has been in talks with ExxonMobil about what we’d like to see happen in this important, historic area that is a key feature in our overall Riverfront Plan,” said Norman Merrifield, director of the City’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Community . “As a result of this planned remediation and ExxonMobil’s initiative, park users will benefit from a number of upgrades and enhanced environmental protections.”

In 2009, ExxonMobil voluntarily conducted a site investigation that included soil testing for metals and other contaminants. The site was accepted into the Voluntary Remediation Program by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) in 2010, a program encouraging hazardous substance cleanups that might otherwise not take place. Although exposures pose no risk to current receptors, to improve the quality of the site and ensure public health, a Removal Action Work Plan was developed and approved by VDEQ to address select soils.

About 5,000 cubic yards of soil will be removed during the remediation process. Clean soil backfill, topsoil, gravel, and vegetation will be imported onsite and used to restore the removal areas in accordance with the restoration plan. The city’s Urban Design Committee is scheduled to consider the project plan during its May 8th meeting, with Planning Commission consideration to follow on May 19th.

The Ancarrow’s Landing and Manchester Slave Dock area has long been thought to have excellent potential for Riverfront attractions and greater public use.  Its location, lack of through traffic, and limited flood protection had largely slowed efforts to improve the site over the years. ExxonMobil’s voluntary efforts will contribute to helping Richmond residents realize the site’s potential and historical value.

Improvements will include:

Expanded parking areas for additional cars, trucks, and boat trailers
Reuse of the George Washington canal stones that are currently stockpiled and unused
Placement and use of tree islands, boulders, and signage to enhance and define the parking areas
Increased lighting with the installation of up to eight solar light fixtures based on the increased size of parking to improve safety and visibility within the parking lot
Enhancement and extension of the access trails from parking areas to the beginning of the historic Richmond Slave Trail.

The Urban Design Committee agenda and related documents for the May 8, 2014 meeting are now available on the City's new legislative website. You can access the agenda here: https://richmondva.legistar.com/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=305872&GUID=D9F83089-8BDA-4F56-A2E2-442641B6091A&Options=info|&Search.