Contamination cleanup may cost Lawrence more than expected

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) – Lawrence officials say contamination cleanup at a former fertilizer plant will cost more than expected.

City Manager Tom Markus said Tuesday that the city is preparing to hire an outside contractor to help with the cleanup at the former Farmland Industries fertilizer plant. He said the $8.6 million trust fund transferred to the city to pay for the remediation of nitrogen-contaminated groundwater is decreasing.

The city took ownership of the plant in 2010 with the goal of using part of the site for its new business park.

The cleanup was projected to cost at least $13 million. The city planned to mitigate costs partly with trust fund interest, but Markus says unrealistic trust fund earnings make the remediation a challenge.

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