Site Characterization

Pre-acquisition Characterization of Properties, and Survey for Hazardous Materials on the BCEC Site

On behalf of the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), the project team of Weston & Sampson, Sverdrup Civil, Inc., and ATC Associates collaborated to clear, demolish, and remediate the 68-acre site in preparation of construction of the new Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC).  The team initially conducted a pre-acquisition characterization of all properties, including a comprehensive subsurface investigation and a survey of each of the 30 buildings for hazardous materials.  Our survey identified petroleum storage tanks, asbestos, lead-based paint, and other hazardous materials.  The building survey data and remediation requirements were incorporated into the contract documents.  In addition, we identified utilities and provided plans and specifications to support utility relocation and cut and cap.

In order to meet the aggressive schedule, four contract packages were prepared for four demolition and site clearance phases, in addition to a fifth specialized remediation contract.  The project team was responsible for all aspects of the design and construction management, including permitting, preparation of plans and specifications for all packages, design and construction, and resident engineering services for this project.

Challenges included the proximity of the site to residents and other businesses, the aggressive schedule, phasing of the five contracts and coordination of multiple contractors, soil and solid waste management, and remediation of a PCB- and lead-contaminated junkyard.  Consequently, the challenge to successful project management and execution was to understand how any one phase could impact numerous other aspects of the project and how to control those impacts.

The PCB project was conducted under the specialized remediation package.  The unusual combination of contaminants (at such high levels) restricted the treatment and/or disposal options and resulted in regulatory oversight by both the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) units, as well as the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). This remediation project combined innovative technologies with on-site controls to successfully remediate a 15-year environmental blight in the neighborhood and was a 2001 recipient of the American Consulting Engineers Council of Massachusetts (ACEC/MA) award.

The building demolitions included the abatement of asbestos containing material (ACM) and removal of lead-based paint, tank removals, and management of demolition debris and contaminated soils in addition to utility cut, cap, and relocation.  We prepared Beneficial Use Determination (BUD) submittals for the re-use of material (such as crushed concrete, slag in fill, and building debris) as well as Bills of Lading for the transportation and disposal of soil fill. Additionally, Massachusetts Contingency Plan (MCP) issues were managed under a Special Project Status for the whole site.

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