Cleanup, Remediation Part of Greylock Works Redevelopment
The owners of the mill recently reviewed some of the actions taken to remediate contamination found on the site during Phase 1, the renovation of the Weave Shed as an event space and artisanal food production site, and exterior upgrades.
The 240,000 square-foot mill was purchased about two years ago by Karla Rothstein and Sal Perry. Former owner James Cariddi had also done some work in remediating the mill.
"The work has really been quite extensive," said Ed Weagle of O'Reilly Talbot & Okun Associates, an environmental engineering firm. "The work began decades ago and I credit Karla and Sal for taking it on."
The mill had been in industrial use for more than 100 years, including for its original use for textiles, as well as the burning and storing of coal, machining, storage and for aluminum anodizing, which is responsible for most of the contamination found on the site.
"The previous owners did quite a bit of assessment and remediation work," Weagle said.
Those included removing out of service and obsolete tanks, recovering free oil that had found its way into the aluminum structure and parts of the Weave Shed, placing a concrete cap in the basement of the west Weave Shed and monitoring of conditions in the flume structure for impacts on the river.
Weagle said an initial concern of the state Department of Environmental Protection was the type of materials in the water raceway and whether they posed a threat to the river.
"I think through the work we've done we've been able to establish that the flume no longer is connected to the river by a large pipe," he said. "There's a small pipe and a gate that's closed."
Creating a pedestrian pathway through the underground flume is the nonprofit part of the project and will be done as Phase 3.
"The flume carries under the road to the river and we intend to build a park on the river side," Perry said.
The raceway once powered the mill by connecting a canal to the Hoosic River on the other side of State Road. The arched granite tunnel is about 15 wide and Perry said it's believed to be 12 feet high, although the bed is filled with material at the moment that makes it difficult to determine the height.
The more recent removals from the site were the demolition of the concrete block buildings that had been used for the defunct Modern Aluminum Anodizing. The company used petroleum lubricating oil in its tubing manufacturing and mineral spirits to clean the oil.
Weagle said an area behind the dip tanks was found to have polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, thought to be from an old transformer. The contamination was "shallow and not very extensive," he said, but about 120 yards of impacted soil was removed.
Other soils, such as that tainted by oils, are being managed onsite through containment.
"Onsite management of these residuals is really a key component to a successful redevelopment of most of these brownfields," Weagle said. "In order for them to be economically feasible, as much of the residuals that can be safely managed onsite, be managed onsite."
Further remediations and testing will continue into Phase 2 — the development of the west end of the mill into housing and hospitality — and the Phase 3 flume cleanout.
One of the programs critical to the $15 million commercial and hospitality project has been the federal brownfields program that aids in the reuse of former industrial sites.
"There has been brownfields program since 2004 and we were able to come in early and help with some of the exploration of the site and do some due diligence requirements," said Melissa Provencher of the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, which has been involved in the remediation of the mill for some time.
The program helps where the redevelopment, reuse and expansion of a former industrial site has been complicated by the presence or potential presence of contamination. It includes site assessment, planning, assistance for site remediation and a revolving loan fund for remediation.
Greylock Works has used nearly all of those components, she said, including a direct grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
EPA's competitive grant programs have a list of eligibility requirements and reporting conditions, with a maximum award of $200,000 with a 20 percent matching grant.
"The work that has been done with the EPA clean up funding has really been focused on the area involving the flume," she said.
"We're just really happy to have been a part of this really remarkable redevelopment project," Provencher said. "We think of it as an excellent model that can serve as as an example for a lot of sites in the future."
The assessment and redevelopment of the back portion of the property was done largely within the last five months. That includes a reinforced 8-inch concrete slab to accommodate deliveries to the back loading dock of the refurbished Weave Shed at the corner of Protection Avenue and pavered parking areas to the east and south made possible through a $2,176,341 MassWorks grant.
The parking area also has lighting, fencing, and a bridge, as well as a stormwater system designed with gradings to keep soil on site, a permeable paving systems, native planting and rain gardens, and catchments to reduce runoff and keep water onsite.
"There was a cut and fill strategy where we built up the land in certain area," Perry said. "To manage our materials here was a really critical strategy of reducing costs and being a good steward of the site by not just sending it off."
A new handicapped accessible entry was dug out to reach the cheese cave being constructed under the Weave Shed, and new gas utility lines and a 2,000 amp electrical service were installed.
A steel pedestrian bridge over the catchment will connect the the Greylock Works parking to that of the Alcombright Athletic Complex; the city has a 10-year easement for use of the mill's parking area. The bridge will eventually lead visitors to the entrance to the flume.
Tags: greylock works, mill reuse, remediation,
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