Historic documents indicate that before the building was demolished it was operated as a garage and millinery shop in 1921 and as a saw equipment shop and pool hall in more recent years. Now, the half-acre lot in Iberia has been determined to contain elevated levels of arsenic and lead.

Historic documents indicate that before the building was demolished it was operated as a garage and millinery shop in 1921 and as a saw equipment shop and pool hall in more recent years. Now, the half-acre lot in Iberia has been determined to contain elevated levels of arsenic and lead. 

Iberia Councilman Walt Pollard said there was concern that the old building, which was primarily a small engine repair shop, could have contained asbestos because of its age and the nature of the business involving solvents, chemicals, etc. The former building had wood floors which probably absorbed potentially dangerous materials which may have seeped into the soil beneath the building.

Seagull Environmental Technologies, Inc., of Gladstone, Mo., conducted a detailed examination of the area after city officials were concerned the vacant The Old Saw Shop – since demolished -- might contain asbestos. LOCLG was awarded a Brownfield Cleanup Grant funded by the Environmental Protection Agency to conduct remedial activities on the rectangular lot, and to restore the property for use as a green space.

Ultimately, five soil samples exceeded the background concentration for lead; five soil samples exceeded the background concentration for arsenic; and the groundwater sample collected at one boring site exceeded background concentrations for lead.

The property is located at 835 State Highway 42 across the street from the U.S. Post Office and adjacent to the former Eads Motors building. It was acquired by the city of Iberia in November 2015. The Old Saw Shop apparently was demolished within the last two years, according to LOCLG bid and scope of work documents.

A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment was conducted by Seagull Environmental Technologies, Inc., in 2015/2016. Results of the assessment indicated that asbestos containing material and lead-based paint may be present in the on-site structure along with electrical ballasts that might contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). A 1,000-gallon, steel, underground storage tank was closed in place in 1994 on the adjacent Eads Motors automotive repair shop, located directly west-southwest of the site. 



Based on its distance, the local topography, and an estimated groundwater flow direction, the storage tank was identified as a possible environmental concern associated with the site. 

The July 2016 Seagull survey identified several components within the 1,450 square foot Saw Shop building that contained possible hazardous material, including asbestos. Positive results included interior walls, trim and doors and exterior window trim, ceiling material and columns. The asbestos inspection identified about 350 feet of asbestos containing exterior siding.

Now that the building has been demolished, remediation crews will excavate the rectangular lot to remove contaminated soil. To ensure that potentially contaminated soil is not distributed off site by wind and rain, best management practices will be implemented. These include stockpiling excavated soil, covering soil with plastic, temporary silt fencing, watering and/or hay bales to slow and control runoff.

The lead- and arsenic-laced soil will be taken to a landfill as special waste. During transport, soil in the dump trucks will be covered.

According to the remedial action plan, restoration of the site is an important part of the cleanup project. After all of the soil removal has been completed, there will be additional tests conducted to verify the lead and arsenic have been removed. Clean backfill material will be brought in to replace the contaminated soil.

The primary objective of the remedial action is to remove and properly dispose of hazardous materials that pose a health threat to site users and that could impede development.

Councilman Pollard said the city is slowly identifying abandoned properties and vacant lots that might qualify for some type of demolition or improvement, so they become more suitable for resale.