Brownfield Remediation Project

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Maxon ALCO Holdings, LLC

What was the challenge?

The former American Locomotive Company (ALCO) properties in Schenectady, NY became a run-down industrial remnant after 135 years of industrial use and production. The 56-acre site on the Mohawk River was purchased by Maxon ALCO Holdings, LLC (MAH), and had been affected by coal-related compounds, petroleum, and chlorinated solvents. The old industrial buildings prevented public access and direct views of the river. To bring the site back into beneficial use, MAH entered into Brownfield Cleanup Agreements (BCA) through the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's (NYSDEC) Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP). The site would become a marquee development project containing a mix of commercial and residential uses, and was selected to house one of the new casinos in upstate New York.

 

How did Barton & Loguidice provide a solution?

B&L needed to find a safe and cost-effective way to deal with these contaminants in order to complete the project. With approval from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), former building foundation concrete was used as subsurface road base and site fill. Additionally, the BCP project defined the cap to include areas of clean soil fill, paved roadways and parking areas, and buildings. This solution was a key to limiting project costs, by minimizing new fill soils required for the project.
B&L also coordinated the remedial design with the site development designs when possible. For example, the area for the new harbor and marina intersected the area of the site with a solvent plume. Fortunately, needing to remove over 20 feet of soil for the construction of the harbor allowed for source removal of these soils, which would have been cost limiting in a normal remedial project.
Mobile petroleum recovery units were utilized to address areas of oil found near subsurface foundations and features. These relatively low-cost pumps and skimmers were employed in excavations across the site and during ongoing development construction to remove and recover oil from site soils.

Why was the project a success?

For the first time in over 100 years, there is now a mile of riverfront that is accessible to the public. Along with that, a harbor was created to facilitate recreational boating in the Mohawk River and Erie Canal, and the site now houses the Rivers Casino and Resort. The industry base has been replaced with modern improvements that are integrated into the natural landscape. The outcome of the project exemplifies the objectives of the BCP program.

The project won a Platinum Award in the Environmental category from the American Council of Engineering Companies of New York (ACEC New York).

 

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