GSA Property

Remedial Action

  • US Army Corps of Engineer - New England District
  • Federal
  • Watertown, MA

Project Overview

The Remedial Action performed at a Formerly Used Defense Site since acquired by the General Services Administration in Watertown, MA was executed in a manner that resembled a design-build contract, where Charter was required to achieve a final performance standard.

The 13-acre parcel was the first of its kind to be transferred from Federal to Local ownership through Charter’s contract. This complex land transfer took a distressed and blighted site that posed a danger to the community and created public green space in an urban Massachusetts town.

The work performed included building demolition and abatement, which was performed under low level radiation protocols due to the Watertown Arsenal’s use for storing hazardous materials and burning depleted uranium, machined chips, and turnings during the Manhattan Project.
With the building down, Charter pre-characterized the site to determine the extent of the contamination, performed excavation to remove PCB removals that included TSCA-regulated waste, capping of non-TSCA waste on site, and construction of 2 acres of wetlands.

Giving New Life to a Historic Site

This brownfield site was part of the Watertown Arsenal, acquired by the Army in 1920 and used for storing hazardous materials and burning depleted uranium, machined chips, and turnings during the Manhattan Project. The buildings and grounds remained unoccupied, deteriorated, and highly contaminated, creating a hazard for nearby residents. Watertown is an urban area and this facility posed a danger to trespassers, and was unusable community space.

After 94 years of federal ownership and 35 years of pressure from Watertown officials on behalf of their constituents, the political and financial conditions aligned to fund the project, achieve remediation goals, and return the site to DCR ownership, where it would fit into the DCR’s Charles River unit and create a greenspace corridor in the heart of the city.
USACE became involved in May 1991 when the GSA Property was made eligible for remedial investigation and funding under the FUDS program. As lead agency for the cleanup, USACE worked closely with MassDEP, DCR, and GSA to ensure the site was suitable for its future use as a public park.

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  • run down site with graffiti covered walls and litter covering the floor at Project Test 4 1
  • yellow equipment working on graffiti-covered wall at Project Test 4 2 site
  • overhead view of large dirt pile over tarp at Project Test 4 3 site
  • rock covered ground next to marsh Project Test 4 4 site

Project Highlights

  • 42,000 sf of building demolition performed under low level radiation remediation protocols; nearly 4,000 tons of debris managed through four distinct waste streams
  • 4,000 tons of soils disposed off-site including 950 tons of sub-title c TSCA soils (>50 ppm)
  • 2.0 acre cap constructed over PCB impacted soils (<50 ppm) consisting of 7,500 cy repurposed soil from wetland replication, geotextile marker layer, and 24 inches of clean imported fill
  • 7,600 hours worked on the site with no lost time incidents

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