Published in The Coast Star June 6, 2002

By Robert McAllen
Editor, The Coast Star:
     The purpose of my corresponding with you is to clear several inaccuracies in your letter to Mr. Verruni on behalf of the RAB, particularly your statements as to, “The purposed action was presented to the public and was well received by the local Restoration Advisory Board.”
     The RAB never endorsed the removal of sewers without replacement. We were told that of the three options presented (filling, lining or removal), the latter was recommended by the experts because they could not see no other way of permanently resolving the mercury contamination problems found in the lines. We were also told that the ultimate decision of removal and replacement was up to the Army BRAC office, not the RAB.
     Thus the sewers were removed over our protest and that no replacement would be forthcoming. We had suggested prior to and during the project that new lines be installed as the old ones were removed, significantly cutting the cost. We even made an offer to convince the town to underwrite some portion of the cost although under BRAC regs we sincerely believe the town has no such duty to do so.
     Our reading of the BRAC regs differs from your interpretation. The intent of the regs is to deliver the property in operable condition, essentially “as is” but at the time of agreement, not conveyance, or as the book says “ready for immediate reuse.” How else would any governing body be able to make informed decisions as to the reuse of a BRAG property without knowing what will be usable, especially in our case where the process has taken almost eight years.
     We also differ as to the definition of “improvements or upgrades to utility systems.” We have asked for neither. All we have asked for is simple replacement of exactly what was in the ground prior to removal. The finding of your own technical team was conclusive; the existing system prior to removal was serviceable, save the contamination. Again, our reading of the BRAC regs is that your job is to solve the contamination problems on the base but not destroy the serviceability of our reuse plan in the process.
     A review of Army Regulation 200-4 recommends that actions in historic sites be done in the light of the National Historic Preservation Act and that all work would meet its standards. For example, cutting the electric lines to the buildings while digging up the sewers resulted in the loss of heating causing myriad of problems which further exacerbated the rapid deterioration of the buildings. . .
We have attempted throughout this long and arduous process to work with the Army. We would like to continue in this positive vein of mutual cooperation but this particular issue is becoming somewhat contentious. We hereby respectfully request a formal meeting with you at the Evans Area so you can see first hand the condition of the site and to restate our case. You may reach us through Mr. Verruni’s office at 732-449-8444. Thank you for further consideration.

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