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Editorial: Welcome help with Lunt cleanup

Bringing in the federal Environmental Protection Agency demonstrates a willingness to get serious about the Lunt Silversmith property on both a short- and long-term basis.

Credit first the state Department of Environmental Protection for having the wisdom to see the circumstances as they exist: that money for any kind of cleanup wasn’t going to come from the owner, who remains involved in bankruptcy proceedings, nor from the town, which doesn’t have the cash available to tackle such an endeavor.

Thus the state requested EPA involvement that will now include its own assessment of not just on-site contamination but how far that pollution has traveled into the neighborhood and, most importantly, a course for cleaning up the contamination.

“The EPA getting involved is very good news,” said Robert Pyers, Greenfield’s director for economic development.

And of course what helps make this possible is that the Lunt property fits a definition of a “brownfield site,” that is to say a property where “... the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.” Therefore, it seems quite likely that the work done there could qualify for grants and other money through the EPA that would pay for the cleanup.

Of course the brownfield designation and the EPA’s effort are familiar here in Greenfield. Just last year the EPA finished its cleanup at the property known as the former Bendix-Repal site.

Everyone, of course, will keep their fingers crossed that the extent of the contamination is not the same as was found with the former Bendix property, where the pollution plume was discovered down the Mohawk Trail — and which took the EPA 14 years to complete a clean up.

While there’s no indication that the Lunt site has the same degree of pollution, the EPA will treat it with the expert thoroughness such pollution demands.

In the end, we hope, national involvement will result in a cleaned-up property and neighborhood as well as a chance for a much needed shot in Greenfield’s economic arm at this site on Federal Street.

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