Report Reveals Additional Contaminants at Bannister Federal Complex


CenterPoint will excavate about 40,000 cubic yards of soil that has been contaminated and transport it by rail to hazardous waste landfills.  It is expected to fill about 600 rail cars. This rendering depicts the future plans for the complex.



South KC Perspective

Additional Contaminants Found at Bannister Federal Complex

By John Sharp

SharpJohnPersons attending the May 11 meeting hosted by CenterPoint Properties concerning its plans to clean up contamination at the vacant Bannister Federal Complex learned that its lengthy investigation of the site found additional contaminants there that had not previously been reported.

These contaminants were a small amount of depleted uranium which is less radioactive than natural uranium and was discovered in shallow soil by one of the buildings at the complex, hexavalent chromium and 1.4 dioxene.

The existing hazardous waste management facility permit for the site issued by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) acknowledged that the complex which once manufactured non-nuclear components for nuclear weapons incorporated “small amounts of radioactive materials in products”.

A draft modification to that permit that will be discussed at a public meeting and public hearing on May 17, added, “In addition to the above, from February 1951 until December 1952 there was a small area of the main manufacturing building where natural uranium rods were received from offsite, were machined onsite into slugs and billets, and then shipped offsite for evaluation and use.”

The added language in the draft goes on to say, “From 1958 until 1971 machining of parts coated with a film of depleted uranium oxide was also conducted in another area of the building.  Both areas were decontaminated and have since been used for non-radiological production operations.”

Finding any contaminants that had not previously been recognized to assure the site could be redeveloped safely was one of the goals of the investigation, according to Harvey Cohen, PhD, a geologist for S. S. Papadopulos & Associates, an environmental consulting company that conducted the soil and groundwater investigation for CenterPoint.

He said at the May 11 meeting that after demolition of the vacant buildings at the complex, previously inaccessible areas at the site can be cleaned up.

CenterPoint is the designated redeveloper for the site and is awaiting federal approval expected later this year of an agreement to transfer ownership of the site to it and to pay it for building demolition and contamination cleanup.  The omnibus appropriations bill that passed Congress and was signed into law by the president earlier this month included $200 million for disposition of the Bannister Federal Complex to pay for demolition and cleanup.

Cohen said the soil and groundwater investigation took samples from all areas of the site and confirmed the extent and types of contamination at the site that have been reported previously.  He said contaminants included PCBs, solvents and fuel.

Cohen said the investigation confirmed there are five areas of soil contamination at the site:  two from fuel, one from PCBs and solvents, one from PCBs and one from solvents.  He noted there also were several areas of groundwater contamination, but said all the contaminated areas are now well defined and fairly limited.

CenterPoint reported at an April 11 public meeting that its investigation of the buildings at the site turned up asbestos, beryllium, contaminated paint, PCBs and other regulated wastes.

Cohen said CenterPoint will excavate about 40,000 cubic yards of soil that has been contaminated primarily by PCBs and solvents and transport it by rail to hazardous waste landfills.  He said this will fill about 600 rail cars.

Scott Cargill with the North Kansas City office of Olsson Associates, an engineering and design firm that also participated in the investigation, said some soil contamination at the complex goes as deep as 40 feet.

Cohen said the contaminated soil will be excavated to the depth necessary to assure there is no human exposure to it, including no exposure to construction workers.

He said CenterPoint will install barrier walls that will extend down to bedrock to prevent contaminated groundwater from migrating off site, including a wall around the main manufacturing building and another to stop groundwater contamination from reaching the Blue River.  He explained the company also will install two trenches to collect groundwater and about 14 extraction wells.

Cohen said CenterPoint will fill with concrete and close the contaminated stormwater drainage pipes on the site.  He said the company also will have four temporary sediment basins and four  permanent stormwater collection basins to assure no stormwater is released from the site before it is treated.

Cargill said CenterPoint plans to develop about two million square feet of manufacturing and distribution facilities on the site once demolition and cleanup is completed in three to four years which should generate 1,150 to 1,350 permanent jobs.  (These estimates of square footage and jobs are both slightly higher than CenterPoint officials have used previously.)  He said plans also call for developing about 40,000 square feet of retail development on the western portion of the site adjacent to Troost and outside the flood wall.

DNR will conduct its own public meeting and public hearing on modifying the hazardous waste management facility permit given to the U.S. Department of Energy and the General Services Administration for remediating groundwater and soil contamination at the site including a proposed final remedy.  The modification will only become effective if ownership of the site is transferred.

The public meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 17, at the Center High School cafeteria followed by a public hearing at 6:30.  Persons may enter their comments about the proposed permit modification and/or the proposed final remedy into the official record at the hearing.

Persons may review and copy the proposed permit modification and final remedy at the Blue Ridge Branch of the Mid-Continent Public Library.  They may also view these documents and submit their comments online at or may mail their comments to Jalal El-Jayyousi, Department of Natural Resources, Hazardous Waste Program, P. O. Box 176, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0176.  The deadline for comments is June 19.

135th Street
The second phase of  135th Street,  from Oak St. to Wornall Rd., was completed is November. When the third and final phase will be completed will depend on City Manager Troy Schulte’s choice of “shovel ready” projects.

135th Street Funding Added

Funding this year for the third and final phase of 135th St. improvements from Wornall Rd. west to Inverness Dr. has been included in an ordinance that was to be introduced at the May 11 City Council session but now will have to be introduced May 18 due to the loss of a quorum at the May 11 meeting.

The ordinance includes $3 million for the 135th St. work which could start as early as this fall if the ordinance is quickly approved by the Council.  An additional $500,000 has already been budgeted for the project this fiscal year as recommended by the Public Improvements Advisory Committee (PIAC) that I serve on.

The 135th St. work is part of a package of “shovel ready” projects totaling $42,675,000 that the city manager has recommended for funding in the first year of a 20-year program to fund basic city infrastructure needs through $800 million in bonds approved by voters April 4.

Schulte originally had not included the $135th St. work in an earlier list of $40 million in projects he was recommending for the first year of the program, even though it met his criteria of being “shovel ready” since right-of-way has been acquired and final design has been completed.

City Councilmen Kevin McManus and Scott Taylor, South Kansas City Alliance President Stacey Johnson-Cosby and I all pointed this out to the manager who had repeatedly used 135th St. as an example of “shovel ready” projects that could be promptly funded by the bonds during the campaign for their approval.

Two other changes to Schulte’s original list were adding $100,000 to the $3.6 million recommended for street, sidewalk and stormwater improvements in Beacon Hill from 25th St. to 27th St. and eliminating $425,000 in administrative costs associated with the sale of bonds.

Other South Kansas City projects included in both the manager’s original list and the proposed ordinance include $3.4 million to completely reconstruct Wornall Rd. from 85th St. to 89th St., $2.25 million to reconstruct “livable streets” in the Marlborough community, $1.1 million for right-of-way acquisition for a flood wall and levy to be paid for mainly by federal funds to protect the Swope Park Industrial Area around 75th Ter. east of Cleveland, and $7 million as the first of two equal allocations to construct a new city animal shelter in Swope Park at Elmwood and Gregory Blvd. that will be partially funded by private sources.

Some Council members have questioned approving the manager’s recommendations without more public input and the formal approval of PIAC, but any further delays in approval will likely assure that the start of actual construction on outdoor projects will be delayed until spring.


Fishtech Cornerstone Award
Fishtech won the People’s Choice Award at the Economic Development Corporation’s Cornerstone Award Ceremony. Photo courtesy Fishtech



Fishtech Wins Award

Fishtech’s new headquarters for the cloud-era security company at 13333 Holmes Rd. in Martin City won the People’s Choice Award for being the best of 10 projects throughout the city that were given Cornerstone Awards May 9 by the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City (EDCKC) for strengthening Kansas City’s economy.

Over 1,000 people voted in a public Facebook contest to determine the winner, making this the second year in a row that a Martin City project has won the top award.  Last year the 135th St. improvements and redevelopment won.

“We are honored to receive the 2017 EDCKC People’s Choice Award and thrilled to share it with our Martin City family,” said Barry Cooper, Fishtech vice president of marketing and corporate communications.  “The fact that the Martin City community has been recognized back-to-back proves that great things are ahead for Fishtech and the area.”

Fishtech’s founder Gary Fish said, “We feel that building a business also includes making a difference in the community you work in.”

“I’m looking forward to supporting the south Kansas City community by providing jobs, partnering with local charities, schools and community organizations, and most of all to be the new catalyst for high-tech innovation in the area,” he said.

MMC Contractors, another Martin City firm which specializes in large, complex mechanical projects, was another area Cornerstone Award winner for its major expansion at 13800 Wyandotte.

Burns & McDonnell, an engineering, architectural and construction company, also received a Cornerstone Award for expanding its world headquarters by constructing a new building and adjoining parking garage at 9450 Ward Pkwy.


Metropolitan Community College
Senior citizens can enroll in most Metropolitan Community College classes this summer for free.


Senior Citizen Tuition Waiver

Senior citizens who are 65 and older who live in the Metropolitan Community College (MCC) District can enroll in most MCC classes this summer without paying tuition under the District’s senior tuition waiver program.

The program covers the cost of tuition on a space available basis after there has been an ample opportunity for tuition paying students to enroll and after the class has achieved the required minimum enrollment.  It does not cover most physical education courses or other charges such as lab fees and books.

Seniors using the tuition waiver may begin enrolling on Thursday, June 1, for the summer semester that begins Monday, June 5.  Seniors may go to any of the five MCC campuses to enroll or may enroll online at   They do have to apply for admission to enroll, which can be done ahead of time online at the above MCC website.

After enrollment, seniors will have up to seven days or the day before the first day of classes, whichever is sooner, to go to the appropriate campus business office and submit their tuition waiver request and pay any additional fees.


Bay Water Park
The Bay Water Park, 7101 Longview Rd., is offering the first two levels of swimming instruction for free.


Free Swimming Lessons

Free swimming lesson covering the first two levels of learning to swim will be offered to area children this summer at The Bay Water Park and other indoor and outdoor city pools by the City Parks & Recreation Department.

The lessons are 30 minute each and are offered Monday through Thursday during four 8-lesson sessions:   June 5 – June 15, June 19 – 29, July 10 – 20 and July 24 – August 3.  Lesson times are:  9 – 9:30 a.m., 9:45 – 10:15 a.m., 10:30 – 11 a.m. and 11:10 – 11:40 a.m.

Pre-registration is required, and persons may call Midwest Pool Management at 816-350-2628 to register.  Classes must meet minimum enrollment levels to be held, but most classes are expected to fill up quickly so families should register their children as soon as possible.

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