In 2008, FMC demolished the steam plant that stood on the eastern edge of the site. The vacant land still owned by FMC totals about 10 acres. It is shaped like a shoebox and is next to the Kanawha River.
Bodamer said one portion of the vacant land "is pretty much ready to be redeveloped." Concrete foundations have been removed, contaminated soil has been removed and the property has been leveled.
Another portion, known as "Area 3," is the last in the cleanup program. Tests show that the groundwater under the surface is contaminated with high levels of carbon tetrachloride.
Bodamer said the company plans to eliminate the contamination by building what he described as "a picket fence of wells," a "bio-curtain," next to the river. A nutrient that is similar to vegetable oil and bacteria that eat carbon tetrachloride will be injected into the wells.
"As the carbon tetrachloride moves toward the river, it will move to the curtain," he said. "The bacteria will eat the carbon tetrachloride. The nutrients will help the bacteria."
The goal is for the site groundwater to meet the water quality standard for carbon tetrachloride in the river. "So it is primarily protecting the biological community in the river," he said.
"If you can clean up a site with these in situ (on site) products, it's the way to go," Bodamer said. It is less expensive than any alternative, he said. Also, "if we had a buyer today, we could work with that buyer, move around the bio-curtain."
The plan has been tested in a laboratory, Bodamer said. The hope is it will work at Area 3. "The plan is to install the bio-curtain next year. Probably in 2014, we'll decide if it is effective. But we don't have to wait that long to redevelop the site. The two (the bio-curtain and redevelopment) can co-exist. Redevelopment could start tomorrow if we get the right buyer."
The state Department of Environmental Protection "is very much involved in this project," he said. "They are overseeing everything that we do."
In response to a question, Bodamer said the groundwater on the site moves toward the river, never toward town.
Following the meeting, he said there is no chance the on-site treatment would have any impact on neighboring property.
"When the bacteria run out of carbon tetrachloride, they die. So as long as that contaminant is there, they will grow. That's why we add nutrients — to help them grow. But it is really the carbon tetrachloride that they're degrading."
During the meeting, Bodamer was asked what type of buyer FMC hopes to find.
"It has to be industrial or commercial," he said. "We are not building another chemical plant. We would prefer to have one big business in there, but it also could be broken up."
Contact writer George Hohmann at busin...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4836.