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04-04-06 City’s Blue Goose may hit the dirt

By Tim Cox

  Celina city officials are hoping to follow an aggressive course to demolish the former power plant, known as the Blue Goose, so the land can be used for future water plant improvements.

  Council members plan to spend approximately $40,000 on necessary environmental testing before the structure could be taken down. If demolition work begins by late this summer, the building's foundation might be able to be used to build a planned addition to the water plant.

  City officials tentatively plan to install granular activated carbon (GAC) filtering technology at the water plant in a move to gain EPA water quality compliance. The city has until November 2007 to fix its ongoing problems with trihalomethanes in the water, and the GAC technology is expected to correct the problem.

  Tearing down the Blue Goose won't be cheap, though. Current estimates are not available, but Councilman Ed Jeffries said past estimates pegged the demolition work at about $1 million.

  City consultant Kent Bryan said asbestos abatement alone at the former power plant likely would run $200,000 or so.  Burgess and Niple, a Columbus engineering firm, has proposed a price of about $40,000 for a three-tiered environmental study of the site. The environmental work would involve a full report on asbestos at the site, a compilation of all materials a contractor can be expected to find when demolishing the structure and soil borings to make sure the soil and groundwater are not contaminated.

  Members of Celina City Council's utilities committee debated the issue Monday. Some members felt the soil borings -- a $14,000 expense -- are not necessary because the city plans to hold on to the property instead of selling it for development.

  Others felt the soil borings should be done because of the close proximity of the city water plant and the underground clearwells where the city's drinking water is stored before it is piped to homes and businesses.

  "I would rather know that than be ignorant," Councilman Rick Bachelor said.

  "I don't think we're going to find anything," Bryan said.

  City officials plan to get price quotes from two other environmental engineering firms before proceeding with the work.

  Built in 1969 on a one-acre site along South Main Street, the plant at first was hailed as the answer to the city's electrical needs into the next century. The plant operated sporadically, though, never generating the electricity it was supposed to, and finally was shut down May 6, 1973, and has not operated since.

  The power plant represents a $5.5 million debacle that took the city's electric utility nearly a decade to recover from financially.

  A study a few years ago determined the equipment in the plant has little more than scrap value.


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