An Ogden Brownfields project tackled environmental uncertainties at the historic Ogden Union Stockyards. In approximately 1905, the 50-acre stockyards were a shipping point to on- and off-load livestock to the railroads. The stockyards eventually closed in 1971, and the property slowly fell into disrepair. Parts of the property were used for various other purposes, including drum and container storage, engines, vehicles, scrap piles, and railroad ties. Ogden’s ultimate vision for the stockyards was to transform the property into the Ogden Business Exchange, one of Utah’s first lifestyle business parks.
To address the environmental uncertainties at the site, Ogden City used funding from an EPA Brownfields Community-Wide Assessment grant to perform a Phase II Site Assessment. The assessment provided information the city needed to apply for an Enforceable Written Assurance (EWA) from DEQ as a next step to facilitate cleanup and development.
EWAs require Reasonable Steps, which are actions the buyer agrees to take to avoid making contamination problems worse. A Reasonable Step included in the EWA was to complete response actions under the Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP), which Ogden applied for in July 2014.
The cleanup was phased by dividing the larger property into three smaller phases so work could be completed on the highest priority areas first. A simultaneous characterization-remediation strategy was also used to significantly speed up the remediation process.
Finally, Ogden applied for and received a loan from the Wasatch Front Brownfields Coalition Revolving Loan Fund (RLF). The RLF is a Brownfields funding tool that provides low-interest loans for cleanup projects in Salt Lake and Weber Counties.
“The Utah DEQ played an important role in the Ogden Business Exchange, which is a significant redevelopment project in Ogden City. The project transformed the historic Ogden Union Stockyards, long vacant and blighted, into a state-of-the-art business park. Joining the DEQ’s Voluntary Clean-up Program allowed the City to access technical assistance, planning, and regulatory clarity that helped us to complete the project correctly and in a timely manner. The DERR team was very knowledgeable, flexible, and always willing to help – they were essential to the City’s efforts to return this brownfields site to a productive use.”
— Ogden City
Field work began on Phase 1 in winter 2015 after a cleanup plan was developed and a public comment period was completed. Upon completion of the work, a “No Further Action” letter was issued, which allowed construction of a new commercial facility that was completed and opened in 2016.
Field work on Phase II was completed in spring 2015, and DEQ’s Division of Environmental Response and Remediation (DERR) issued a second “No Further Action” letter allowing redevelopment of this phase to proceed unhindered. Field work on Phase III began in Fall 2015 and DERR issued a site-wide Certificate of Completion in 2018.
Using various tools from the EPA and the DEQ, Ogden City is transforming this once blighted 50-acre site into the Ogden Business Exchange. Minutes from downtown, the new business park not only provides a burgeoning new tax base for the city, but a recreation destination as well.