OGDEN — All the waste at the old Swift complex in west Ogden has been processed and inventoried.
That’s the good news, says Paul Peronard of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the on-scene coordinator of the cleanup, launched late last March.
The bad news? Some of the material remains on the grounds, awaiting disposal, he said.
Peronard had hoped the work would be done by the end of August. He offered no updated timeline, but said now it’s a matter of scheduling when the material still on the Swift grounds can be brought to the landfill, incinerated or otherwise disposed of.
In 2017, the city bought the Swift property, long unused except for storage, from an entity connected to local retailer Smith and Edwards Co., hoping to eventually redevelop the land. On discovering the wide-ranging quantity of materials stored inside — including, it turns out, potential explosives, flammable materials and more — the city invited the EPA to spearhead efforts to safely empty the building. The cleanup started on March 29, and the online EPA report on efforts from Sept. 5 shows they found 97,769 containers of materials and that processing had finished.
Yet to be removed, among other things, are PCBs, carcinogens that were found in transformers on the property, according to Peronard. The soil where the transformers were located will also likely require cleanup. PCBs are “bad for you, but they’re not a screaming emergency,” he said.
Once all the material is removed, demolition can proceed, Peronard said. Though Mark Johnson, Ogden’s chief administrative officer, previously indicated demolition could come by late September, he didn’t offer an updated timeline on Tuesday in light of the continuing EPA efforts.
The Swift property, actually two abutting buildings, previously served as meatpacking facility. It was later acquired by Utah-Smith, previously controlled by the late Bert Smith, founder of Smith and Edwards Co. The city of Ogden in turn purchased the property from Utah-Smith for $400,000 in 2017, knowing if faced perhaps $2.2 million in cleanup and demolition costs.
The Swift property is part of the city’s Trackline Economic Development area, a redevelopment zone stretching further west across the Weber River to Ogden Business Exchange, a planned industrial zone. City leaders one day envision a manufacturing facility at the Swift location.