DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) – 3M recently announced future plans for the contaminated historic landfill buried under the former Brookhaven Middle School campus in Decatur.

The company said its plans are consistent with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management’s (ADEM) Voluntary Cleanup Program. That program has guidelines for “managing historic landfill sites and investigating volatile organic compounds.”

3M said the plan aims to strengthen the community by safely addressing the closed facility and by offering new opportunities for the site’s future. 

In June of 2019, the company admitted to illegally releasing chemicals into the Tennessee River.

The City of Decatur asked 3M to investigate the historic landfill on the property in July 2019. Three historic landfills in Decatur and Morgan County were found to contain high levels of PFAS and other chemicals. 

The discovery of PFAS chemical contamination at Decatur’s former Brookhaven Middle School led the board of education to threaten to sue 3M in December 2019. The school board sold the property to 3M in May 2020, for $1.25 million. The property the Aquadome sits on was not sold at that time.

Community Input Wanted

3M said it plans to ask the community and other stakeholders for input on the development of the site for future potential green space uses. A rendering shared by the company shows a few ideas for the space including athletic facilities, a community playground, and a splash pad.

(Photo: 3M Communications)

Phase One of the project is expected to focus on the 15 acres of land housing the former school and activity field. Demolition of the building is expected to begin in early 2023.  

3M officials said they also plan to include the Aquadome site and softball fields adjacent to Brookhaven in future redevelopment plans after 3M takes ownership of those portions of the property from the city. 

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3M is conducting a comprehensive study to establish the final remediation plan for the site before submitting long-term use options developed by the community to ADEM for approval.