Premier Packaging Facility represents sustainability in action

LOUISVILLE, Ky.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–In 2019, Premier Packaging’s state-of-the-art 305,000 square foot corporate headquarters and distribution center opened at 4301 Produce Road. A few years earlier, the 17 acres had been a brownfield, a former industrial site compromised by environmental issues that hampered redevelopment.

Premier and the previous owner of the property spent money and 3 and a half years to clean the property beyond government requirements. “We pursued sustainability by recommissioning a fallow site for the benefit of the community,” said project manager Charles P. Marsh.

How Groundwater Was Contaminated

The site once housed a factory that used heat and dies to reshape aluminum for different industries. A metal degreaser, the carcinogenic tetrachlorethylene (PCE), was routinely pumped into the plant from a tank truck via a hose and fitting. Over time, a leak developed, with the dripping PCE forming a contaminated plume into groundwater at the site.

The site’s then-owner installed 25 monitoring wells on the site and nearby commercial properties and operated a $100,000-per-year water filtration system. By 2015, PCE groundwater levels had dropped enough that Kentucky EPA officials allowed the filtration system to be suspended. The site was put up for sale, but environmental issues scared off potential buyers.

Premier takes up the challenge

Meet Premier Packaging owner John Gaynor who thought the location was perfect to consolidate the operations of three different facilities for his business. Premier provides tailored packaging and shipping solutions for customers in North and South America.

New technology was used to inject a slurry of solid iron and activated carbon directly into the water plume, breaking down the PCE into less hazardous components. As PCE groundwater levels have declined, the state of Kentucky has authorized the closure of more monitoring wells. Currently, four wells on the site are tested twice a year.

When building Premier’s facilities, environmental compliance was cumbersome. No dirt could be removed from the site without being tested by an environmental engineer. The hazardous dirt has been sent to a controlled landfill.

The extra work and expense was worth it, according to Gaynor. “Here is an inactive site that some might consider a liability. Instead, we cleaned it up and turned it into a wonderful corporate distribution facility and a great economic asset to the community.