Pittsfield Conservation Commission OKs Destruction of GE Building
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Conservation Commission on Thursday approved the demolition of General Electric's Building 65 at 375 Newell St.
Because of the site's pollution with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), it was passed with the condition that erosion control measures are used in the form of straw wattles.
The 20,000 square foot structure located across from the Berkshire Innovation Center was formerly used for manufacturing. It was brought to the commission because the property is in bordering land of the Housatonic River and is subject to flooding.
After demolition, the site will be unused and a future plan to cap it with topsoil and grass was approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Environmental Protection.
"It's a slab on grade building, it's one story, it's concrete and asphalt surrounding with vegetated areas to the north and west and to the south," GE representative Matthew Calacone said.
"The project is to demolish the building down to grade, there won't be any soil disturbance and that's it. All the material is going to be shipped off-site to an out of state landfill."
Commissioner Jonathan Lothrop pointed to the contaminated nature of the parcel and asked if the concrete slab under the building will remain. He also advocated for containment of the area when demolition occurs to prevent any migration of dirt.
"Obviously we all understand the heritage of this site and relative contamination that exists generally speaking in the area," Lothrop said.
Calacone assured him that the slab will remain and not be disturbed.
"Being a completely above grade structure it's an above grade project, the building is mostly steel and the roof is foam, a couple of different layers of material, the roofing is not asbestos so the first part of the project will be to remove the exterior panels on the building intact, those will be taken off manually," he explained.
"And then the remaining superstructure, the steel, is going to be dismantled using traditional demolition techniques, excavators and whatnot, there's no storm drains present in the area, and like I said, the surrounding area is asphalt and concrete so there doesn't seem to be the potential for anything to be running around or going anywhere during the project, the contractor will use dust suppression techniques if needed, basically with a steel structure we're not expecting a lot of dust, but they will use water suppression if needed."
The property has an existing environmental deed restriction that requires the whole area to be capped by either concrete, asphalt, a building, or vegetation.
Commissioner Thomas Sakshaug asked if the onsite flood storage will be banked or if the city will get it back.
"The only thing I can say is that the building is going to be demolished, as part of the overall remediation of that area. There was a lot of flood storage calculations that were done and at the time of the remediation, we're venturing off of the (request for determination of applicability) application at this point but just as some background, during the remediation, there was a lot of flood storage calculations performed," Calacone said.
"The plan and the work approved by EPA and DEP was to ultimately cap this building with topsoil and grass sometime in the future when the building was determined to no longer be needed, that's another project for another time."
Tags: business park, demolition, General Electric,