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Kan. reveals cleanup plan for polluted Topeka site

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- The state's environmental regulatory agency is seeking public comment on a $2.3 million plan to clean up an industrial site in Topeka that has been contaminated with chemicals for decades.

Investigators say Reid Chemical Co. which dumped volatile organic compound at the site from the 1940s to the 1960s, polluting the land and groundwater. The cleanup is the responsibility of the site's current user, Contech Engineering Solutions and AK Steel Corp., formerly known as Armco.

Under the state's plan, a three-year-old network of vapor extraction devices would draw out residual chemicals through more than 30 wells, while carbon substrate injected through the wells would degrade the pollutants, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported (http://bit.ly/1b4Of2F ).

"Reid stored and formulated chemicals," and it is believed the company disposed of some chemicals in a lagoon at the site, said Ryan Weiser, site remediation unit chief for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Environmental damage from the lagoon and at a Reid building, forced the removal of 1,529 tons of soil to a landfill in 2008.

Weiser said work at the site could continue for a decade but that contaminants might not be completely neutralized for 25 years. No one is currently using groundwater from wells contaminated by the chemicals, he said.

KDHE is gathering written comment on its plan through Oct. 9.

Armco bought the property in the 1960s and 1970s from the railroad company now known as Burlington Northern Santa Fe. Reid Chemical had leased the property from Armco and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Co.