Signs in front of the building announcing the location of City Hall are in place on Friday, April 26. City staff moved into McFarland State Bank’s former downtown location this week from the Opera House after the bank donated it to the city last year.

More than nine months after the city agreed to accept the donated McFarland State Bank building for the new home of City Hall, the city learned last week that it does not need to do any cleanup work on the property.

The possibility of paying for cleanup of the site, which was a gas station before it became a bank in 1961, was a sticking point for some alders, who did not want the city to be liable for potentially expensive environmental remediation.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources determined in its Phase II study with Resource Engineering Associates that no response actions are required. Additional testing for the Phase II study was completed last month and included almost a year of environmental site assessments via soil testing and other property studies.

The report, which Mayor Tim Swadley shared with the Hub, states that an attempt to sample the groundwater was unsuccessful but the DNR supported REA’s determination of no action required. Other monitoring well samples indicated “minimal” impacts, less than preventative action limits that are established by the Wisconsin Administrative Code.

The Phase II investigation, completed in September 2018, found “limited” soil contamination.

“It appears that past gasoline station activities have caused some contamination on the site, but the level and extent of the impacts are minor,” REI senior engineering William Buckingham wrote in the Phase II report.

The “no action required” response does not necessarily mean there won’t be impacts or issues found later, the letter explains. Because soil testing was done at specific spots on the property, it doesn’t automatically guarantee an issue won’t be realized at a later date.

“In the future, if the Department becomes aware of any new information concerning the contaminates referenced above, or the presence of other contaminants on the Property, the Department will evaluate that data at that time to determine if any response actions are required,” the letter states.

Contact Amber Levenhagen at amber.levenhagen@wcinet.com.