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Brownfields Experience

Local communities in the process of acquisition or divestiture of environmentally impaired properties or brownfield sites face unique challenges. Whether these properties are acquired from federal or state entities or from defunct corporations, local decision makers are often presented with real estate burdened by significant environmental liabilities. Analyzing, taking possession of, and disposing of such properties requires a high level of expertise. WESTON has the expertise to provide total solutions to issues arising from brownfield development.

Building Demolition and Soil Remediation in Support of Brownfield Redevelopment, Austin Energy Pole Yard, City of Austin Public Works and Transportation Department, Austin, TX – WESTON performed the remediation planning and oversight activities necessary to remediate historical environmental issues for a property owned by the City of Austin.

The objective of this project was to prepare an industrial property for future residential redevelopment by demolishing on-site structures and remediating contaminated soil to meet the requirements of Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations. The property was historically the site of a vehicle maintenance center and equipment storage facility owned and operated by Austin Energy. In 1998, the property was acquired by the City of Austin for lease to a property development company for residential redevelopment. The developer requested that the City address historical environmental issues and remediate the affected soils prior to any new construction. Austin Energy, needing to expedite this work to meet the developer’s schedule, retained WESTON for the work.

WESTON’s initial task was to develop a project approach that would achieve the objectives of the project in a very short schedule. WESTON evaluated existing data, provided the City with recommendations and a cost estimate for the work, and proposed a multidisciplinary team of environmental professions necessary to complete the work on an accelerated schedule. The client selected WESTON for this project over a local competitor because of our high level of expertise in performing PCB remediation and Voluntary Cleanup Program remediation projects in Texas.

Bridgeport Brownfields Pilot Project, City of Bridgeport Connecticut, Bridgeport, CT– WESTON used GIS to gather and manage information for a brownfields pilot project for the City of Bridgeport. The two main objectives of the pilot project were to create a database/prioritization model to collect basic information and rank potential brownfield sites within the City of Bridgeport based upon redevelopment potential, and to perform highest and best use studies and an approximate remediation cost survey on two to six of the highest ranked properties within the database.

A series of field studies to identify underused, vacant, or abandoned properties was performed. Sites that were undergoing remediation or that had already been targeted for redevelopment were not included for consideration. At the end of this phase, approximately 205 properties were identified. Assessor’s maps and other city planning data were examined to verify site eligibility. These properties were then arranged geographically to yield 30 redevelopment sites consisting of one or several targeted properties

Kalakaua Brownfields Voluntary Response Program, Honolulu, Island of Oahu, Hawaii, Aloha/King, LLC., CA – WESTON was retained to develop a Voluntary Response Program (VRP) with Hawaii Department of Health on behalf of the property owner (Aloha/King, LLC.), and to execute the program by conducting field investigations, performing human health and ecological risk assessments, and obtaining a letter of closure.

WESTON identified two adjacent properties in the commercial district of Honolulu, Hawaii that were environmentally impaired by petroleum contamination. WESTON initially contacted the property owners to become their consultant; however, a potential buyer, Aloha/King, LLC, decided to purchase the site “as is” by using our service.

WESTON’s initial task was to do research on the property to determine if the site was suitable for a VRP. Our services included taking over the environmental liability of the property, setting up the VRP program, purchasing Pollution Legal Liability Insurance (10 years), conducting each of 10 steps of the VRP agreement, obtaining a letter of closure from HDOH, and continue long-term monitoring, if necessary.

Brownfield Redevelopment, North Halsted Site, City of Chicago Department of Environment, Chicago, Ill. – WESTON conducted a Phase II investigation of a site to evaluate potential environmental concerns posed by either the surface debris pile or subsurface conditions. In addition, potential off-site contributors were evaluated to determine if they had adversely affected the property via groundwater migration.

This brownfield site was chosen by the City of Chicago, Department of Environment (CDOE) for potential redevelopment as either a residential or commercial/industrial property. The site formerly housed multiple commercial properties, including a gasoline station. A pile of debris approximately 15 to 20 feet high was also present at the site. Previous environmental sampling conducted at the site indicated that subsurface soil contamination was present in the area of the former gasoline station, but not in the surface debris pile.

Brownfield Redevelopment, Former Burnside Steel Foundry, City of Chicago Department of Environment, Chicago, Ill. – WESTON conducted a detailed Phase I environmental assessment to identify potential liabilities associated with foundry operations at a 7-acre facility, such as automotive debris that had been dumped on the property after the facility ceased operations in 1979. In addition to this site, an inspection of neighboring industrial properties was performed.  Historical aerial photographs and Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps were used to determine past conditions and to obtain an understanding of the former operations. This information was used to assist WESTON with the on-site inspection of the areas having potential environmental concerns. WESTON prepared and submitted a report summarizing the results of the Phase I assessment to the Department of Environment, and was retained to inspect the suspect areas outlined in the Phase I assessment report.

On behalf of the City, WESTON enrolled the property in the Illinois Voluntary Site Remediation Program, and prepared sampling and analysis, quality assurance, and health and safety plans. WESTON then implemented a Phase II assessment evaluating suspect areas, and conducted a human health-based risk assessment using the Tiered Approach to Cleanup Objectives (TACO). In turn, the risk assessment was used to develop a risk management plan for the site. This plan has been approved by the IEPA, and WESTON has completed the remediation. Upon receipt of the No Further Action letter, the site will be marketed for redevelopment.

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