The Berlin, MD team met for their first in-person meeting on June 1st. Laura Allen, Jane Kreiter, Jim Hulbert, Keota Silaphone, and Ellen Silbergeld conducted a site visit to assess the proposed area of remediation – Berlin Falls Park. The park is currently open for passive use (birdwatching, hiking, etc.), but the city has even bigger plans for the area. By the time it is completed, Berlin Falls Park hopes to include an ice skating rink, a zipline, a climbing wall, and a number of breathtaking water features. These water features will be created using 2 existing ponds left over from a former Tyson Chicken plant. Needless to say, restoring the health of these ponds is a top priority. Consultants from EA plan to conduct a traverse of the two connected ponds, taking lake bottom sediment core samples as they go. This will give them a good picture of how thick the nutrient-rich layer of sediment is, what it contains, and how much of it they will have to remove to remediate the site.
All members of the team had valuable information to contribute to the discussion. Keota, being familiar with the area, had a number of suggestions on how to engage the local population with the project. Ellen’s extensive background with the poultry industry led her to inquire into the types of tests being done on the sediment samples. She had a number of suggestions as to the best course of action for conducting these tests. Jim was very receptive to feedback from both of the scientists, and plans to work closely with them on the sediment core analysis. City contacts Laura and Jane were clear and communicative with their hopes and expectations for the project, and were gracious hosts and coordinators of this meeting.
After the site traverse and laboratory tour, the entire team convened in Berlin’s City Hall to discuss next steps. Within the next month, the team plans to coordinate on sampling efforts, acquire topographic data for the site, and draft a press release to keep the town updated on their progress.