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Tons of Material Removed as Part of Clean Up of Former Army Site

Old buildings have been torn down and trucked off, PCB soil still must be cleaned up.

Thousands of tons of steel, bricks and dirt have been trucked off the former Army property along Greenough Boulevard, and that is just the first step of the clean up of the contaminated area in East Watertown.

The clean up focuses on the GSA Site, which was part of the Watertown Arsenal when the U.S. Army made munitions and big guns there. The Army Corps of Engineers is overseeing the clean up, and Thursday they reported their progress on the site.

The project includes removing soil contaminated by PCBs on one part of the 12-acre site and tearing down five buildings remaining on the site. In place of the buildings a wetlands area will be created to replace the one in the contaminated area.

Over the winter, the buildings came down, said Michael Kunce, project manager with Charter Environmental, the contractor hired by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to oversee the cleanup.

Crews removed tons and tons of material, including:

  • 1,320 tons of asphalt
  • 1,140 tons of concrete
  • 360 tons of bricks and terra cotta material
  • 180 tons of steel
  • 681 tons of material containing asbestos

All the material was recycled, except for the asbestos-infused material, Kunce said. That was taken to a landfill in Ohio.

When the site is cleaned up it will be transferred to the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation to turn into a park area. Plans have not been drawn up for how it will look, but the area will be one for “passive recreation” such as walking, said Michael Misslin, chief engineer with the DCR.

Before the site is turned into a park, the DCR will hold public meetings in town to gather input from Watertown residents, Misslin said.

The Army Corps of Engineers will give periodic updates on the project, with the next one expected in May, said Ellen Iorio, project manager with the Army Corps of Engineers. The meeting will cover the removal of the PCB contaminated soil and the creation of the wetlands area.

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