After 13 years, Sherman Foundry demolition underway

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SHERMAN, TX-A 66-year old shuttered manufacturing facility in Sherman will soon be leveled to the ground. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality ruled its presence to be hazardous to residents nearby.

They said "it's about time" to get rid of the Sherman Foundry. The facility is less than a block away from dozens of residents, they say they can only take so much of the smell. Residents are also concerned for their health after the TCEQ found lead and other toxic waste in the crumbling building.

Dominga Medrano's brother worked at the Sherman Foundry before it closed its doors in October of 2000. She said ever since the factory was abandoned, residents like her are concerned about the toxic mess left behind.

"There used to be a lot of chemicals there, a lot of them. And I just think it's not good for the neighborhood," she said.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality surveyed the old iron foundry in 2007 and found high levels of mercury in the soil and lead in the old facility. That's a health concern for Medrano, who lives less than a block away from the building.

"I think it's very dangerous for all that stuff to be there," she said.

Monday, crews hired by the Environmental Protection Agency and TCEQ began tearing down the 66-year-old structure.

Sherman City Engineer, Clay Barnett, said both agencies approached the city last May for permission to demolish the Sherman Foundry; a project financed by TCEQ's Superfund.

"It's been discussed for a number of years and this has been the first year that they actually came to us and said 'hey, we're ready to tear this thing down,'" he said.

Medrano said while it took 13 years to get the job started, she's just glad the old foundry will soon be gone.

"They hadn't done nothing about it until this year and now I'm so happy that they finally did that. But I'd like that to be cleaned up, the grass cut, the trees, all that mess," she said.

Barnett said they don't know what will happen to the site after the demolition but it will be cleaned up.

"The landscape will be changing here in the next several months. The EPA and the TCEQ, we have full confidence that they'll do everything they need to do in order to keep the site a clean area," he said.

Barnett said the demolition is expected to be completed by the end of August. The TCEQ will test the soil and groundwater beneath the building after the demolition.

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