By Kim Siebert MacPhail
Steve Martorano, Project Manager for the civil engineering firm BSC Group, addressed the Conservation Commission on behalf of Tremview Investments at a public hearing on August 14 regarding the matter of the removal of PCB-contaminated soil at 201 Burlington Road. The property is a commercial site with two long-vacant buildings located opposite Crosby Drive.
Tremview, the redeveloper of the property, wants to “re-invent” the property, Martorano said. “It isn’t really drawing a lot of [commercial] interest. Nobody wants it the way it is,” Martorano explained. “The primary problems with the building are more internal, but it’s a dated look, so they want to re-skin the building.”
“When they took off some of the [external] panels, they did some testing, found some contaminated materials that were used in the caulking that have since, over time, degraded and fallen into the soil around the property,” Martorano continued. “Before they can do the re-skinning, they need to excavate two feet of material [around part of the circumference of the buildings], ship the [contaminated soil] off-site and bring in clean material.”
“It’s a small volume of material,” added environmental engineer Marc Richards, also speaking on behalf of Tremview. “It’s [only] 300 cubic yards or so.”
Richards also reported that concentrations of PCBs were variable around the site.
“Concentrations are above state reporting [levels], which are two parts per million, and [in some areas were] as high as 400 parts per million, which was surprising to see,” Richards said. “This will get reported to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, and we have to prepare and submit a clean-up plan, which goes to the department with my stamp [of approval].”
“We have just about every kind of area on this site,” Martorano continued. “Floodplain, riverfront area and wetland buffer zones. That’s what brought us here in front of the Commission.”
“We’ve got an endangered species there, too, you know,” said Conservation Commission member Lori Eggert, speaking of the Bridle Shiner fish that has thrived in only one place in New England, that area being the Vine Brook.
“Yes, we were told about that,” replied Martorano. Richards added that although the area of contamination is on the far side of the property, testing had been done closer to the river to ensure that PCBs had not migrated into the wetland resource.
The soil removal plan will entail either excavation and immediate removal— a truckload at a time— or excavation and short-term “stockpiling” so that all of the material can be hauled away all at once, rather than have trucks wait for loads while the excavation is taking place. Once removed, the soil will be taken to a hazardous waste site in Model City in upstate New York.
After satisfying themselves that the mitigation plan was well considered and that testing would be done to ensure that all contaminated materials were abated, the Conservation Commission approved Tremview’s application to proceed with the remediation, subject to State and Federal requirements. The Commission has set a condition for its approval that it will receive reports as the project progresses.