Enviro cleanup, pre-construction continues at former junkyard on the river


The old EDACO junkyard on Amboy Road, now Karen Cragnolin Park, is getting a facelift. RiverLink has been actively creating parks and greenways along Amboy Road since 1999 when it acquired and funded the development at the old Asheville Motor Speedway into Carrier Park.

In 2006 RiverLink purchased the property contiguous to the speedway, the EDACO junkyard on Amboy Road. The company had advertised that it was the only junkyard in the U.S. surrounded by public parks and that you could “buy your parts in the park.” RiverLink purchased the 5.3 acre EDACO junkyard as a “missing link” in the Amboy Road section of the Wilma Dykeman RiverWay with grant funds provided by the Janirve Foundation, the Clean Water Trust Fund, the Stanback Family Trusts and the sale of one-foot “deeds of support,” deeds for sections of greenway for $50 a foot.

After RiverLink acquired the EDACO junkyard it worked with D.H. Griffin Wrecking Company, who donated materials and manpower to recycle an estimated 100,000 tons of concrete that covered the entire site. The 8-foot concrete cap was recycled into asphalt and sold.

After years of soil and water testing and further grant writing, RiverLink was able to actually hire D.H. Griffin to remove cement remnants and all rock and debris over one inch in diameter on the site in preparation of planting the entire site using a process known as “phytoremediation” — nature healing nature.

RiverLink is working with Dr. Ari Ferro, an expert in phytoremediation and the principal environmental scientist with URS Corporation, to develop and document how the method will remove contaminants known as Volatile Organic Compounds or VOC’s, from the old junkyard. One of the many benefits of using phytoremediation is that the cleanup can occur in-situ — that means in place — without removing and transporting the contaminated soils to another location. This cost-effective “green” technology uses plants to “vacuum” VOC’s from the soil through plant roots.

The project will use all native grasses which have been infused with a bacteria cultivated from the site that can only survive on the VOC’s found in the soil at the old junkyard.

RiverLink, using EPA grant funds, hired Ferro to oversee the planting, along with Dr. Daniel van der Lelie, senior director for the Center for Agriculture and Environmental Engineering at RTI International. (Incidentally, Dr. van der Lelie’s company has also been hired to grow the hops for the new Sierra Nevada Brewery in Mills River.) Overseeing all the work and helping to coordinate schedules is Rindt-McDuff Associates, Inc.

Concrete and rock removal is scheduled to conclude mid-April. The team of specialists will start seeding the entire site with bacteria-inoculated native plants this spring. The soil remediation will take approximately three years to be complete.

RiverLink invites the public to use Amboy Road and the easement it donated to build the sidewalk funded by the NCDOT that crosses the project and connects the French Broad River greenway to the north and to Carrier Park to the south.

Located in Asheville’s River Arts District, RiverLink is a regional organization spearheading the economic and environmental revitalization of the French Broad River watershed as a destination where everyone can work, live and play. 

For more information about how you can get involved, see our Web site: www.riverlink.org, or contact us at information@riverlink.org or by phone at 252-8474.

(photo courtesy of RiverLink)

About Margaret Williams
Editor Margaret Williams first wrote for Xpress in 1994. An Alabama native, she has lived in Western North Carolina since 1987 and completed her Masters of Liberal Arts & Sciences from UNC-Asheville in 2016. Follow me @mvwilliams

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3 thoughts on “Enviro cleanup, pre-construction continues at former junkyard on the river

  1. ashevillain7

    “The soil remediation will take approximately three years to be complete.”

    Does this mean it will be three years before that section of park will be open to the public?

  2. Jeff

    Golly! Three more years?

    Will it be open in three years or is that when the construction phase will begin? Is there a specific plan in place for what will be in that spot?

    I hope there will be some way to get in or out of the river with a kayak.

    • ashevillain7

      There is already a boat ramp just downstream from this location. It’s towards the North end of the dog park.

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