Saturday, September 25, 2021

Another Columbia resident tells Council members of buried barrels of waste at borough's recently purchased McGinness Airport

When: Columbia Borough Council meeting Sept. 14.

What happened: Council members learned of a second Columbia resident who said he knew about the possibility of barrels buried at the McGinness Airport site, along with personnel and medical records from a metal manufacturing plant. Columbia paid $1.495 million for the property Aug. 20. Since then, two people have notified council that containers supposedly containing hazardous waste were buried in the 1970s. One resident sent an online message to Council Vice President Sharon Lintner and brought up the matter in an online discussion comment with Council President Heather Zink.

Quotable: "He shared his story about the barrels and about some records being buried," Borough Manager Mark Stivers said after the meeting. Nothing was discovered during ecological and land studies conducted before the purchase.

Background: The borough bought roughly 58 acres at the McGinness site. Lintner and Howard Stevens voted against purchasing the property. Zink, Peter Stahl, Fran Fitzgerald, Eric Kauffman and Todd Burgard voted in favor. Plans call to develop 40 acres off Manor Street into an innovation and technology campus that would include a hiking trail through a nature preserve and a children's playground.

Next step: The borough will search for any buried materials. "We've narrowed down the area," Stivers said. Columbia will clean the area if any hazardous waste is found.


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