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Park City seeks bids to build controversial storage facility for contaminated soils



PARK CITY, Utah – City Hall is seeking bids from firms interested in winning a contract to build the first cell of a controversial facility officials have proposed along the S.R. 248 entryway where the government wants to store soils contaminated from the silver-mining era.

The municipal government released the request for bids early in the week amid an opposition movement that aims to stop the project. Bids are due May 18. The bid request indicates work would include the cell construction and encompass tasks like excavation and hauling.

David Everitt, a deputy Park City manager, said the timing of the request for bids was designed to start construction of the first cell as early as July. A start date in that month was initially based on a timeline for the beginning of excavation work for an arts and culture district City Hall plans to develop stretching inward from the intersection of Kearns Boulevard and Bonanza Drive. Much of the soil that is excavated from the arts district location is expected to be contaminated, requiring it be moved to a facility known as a repository.

Everitt said officials anticipate the work on the repository may start in the fall and take between four and six weeks to complete. The work involves the excavation of the land and the installation of a liner designed for a repository. He said City Hall ordered the liner previously to guard against a rise in the price of plastic.

Developers in certain locations in Park City have long encountered issues with soils. The contamination dates to the community’s silver-mining era, which launched with the city’s founding in the 19th century and stretched into the middle of the 20th century.

It has been understood that the development of the land where the arts district is planned would involve a cleanup prior to construction, but there has been increased attention to that aspect of the project in recent weeks. There are some who are concerned with the prospects of building a repository in Park City, expressing worries about the impact on public health and the environment.

The repository is proposed on City Hall-owned land located at the S.R. 248-Richardson Flat Road intersection. Soils excavated from the arts district location and land where housing projects would be built would be moved to the repository. Officials would also make the facility available to private homeowners for noncommercial purposes.

City Hall previously used another repository at Richardson Flat. That one, dating to the mining era and lacking a protective liner, has not been available since 2010. Materials are currently moved to a repository in Tooele County. Leaders argue that a local repository would cut costs, reduce vehicle emissions since trucks would not haul the materials to Tooele County and reduce the burden on that community.

The state Department of Environmental Quality must approve the repository. In that case, City Hall would also need to secure a building permit from the municipal government itself.