New York State Department Of Environmental Conservation American Cleaners

Posted on June 15, 2015

Client: New York State Department Of Environmental Conservation
Location: American Cleaners Site

Major Components

  • Pre-Design Investigation
  •  Remedial Design
  •  Construction Oversight

Project Description

The American Cleaners Site is an abandoned dry cleaner located at 48-50 Walnut Street in the City of Binghamton, Broome County, New York. The site is approximately 0.1 acre in size and is bounded on the north by a residential property, on the south by Seminary Avenue, on the east by a residential property and on the west by Walnut Street. Prior to remedial activities, the site was occupied by a dilapidated 1-story masonry building that was attached to a 2-story wooden building, and a smaller masonry building.

D&B Engineers and Architects, P.C. was retained by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) to provide remedial design services for the site, as well as provide construction oversight during site remediation activities.

Site BackgroundNYSDEC - American1

The site was operated as a dry cleaner until 1991, when dry cleaning operations reportedly ceased at the property, and has been vacant ever since. According to a records search completed by the NYSDEC in 1998, tetrachloroethene (PCE) was stored in a 275-gallon tank in the basement of the main building for use as a dry cleaning solvent at the site. Substantial amounts of dry cleaning solvents were spilled at the site, reportedly due to poor housekeeping practices. The spilled solvents resulted in soil and groundwater contamination beneath the building due to the presence of three drainage sumps located within the building basement.

The first investigation at the site was completed in 1995, when a composite soil sample was found to contain PCE at a concentration exceeding 200 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg). In May 1995, five soil samples were collected for PCE analysis, and concentrations ranging from 1.4 mg/kg to 410 mg/kg were detected. A subsurface investigation was conducted at the site by a prospective buyer of the property in July 1995, which focused on the evaluation of groundwater quality, since on-site soil contamination had already been documented. PCE and toluene were detected in soil vapor samples collected from four direct push sample locations at the site. However, attempts at collecting groundwater samples failed due to the fact that the direct push drill rig could not penetrate deeper than 6 feet below ground surface.

As a result, the NYSDEC conducted an Immediate Investigation Work Assignment in February and March 1998. The soil beneath the basement foundation was found to contain PCE at concentrations up to 4,400 mg/kg. PCE concentrations in groundwater ranged up to 24,000 micrograms per liter (ug/l).

Based upon the results of the above outlined investigations, the American Cleaners Site was listed on the NYSDEC Registry of Hazardous Waste Sites (Site No. 7-04-030) in January 1999.

In November 2000 and January/February 2001 the NYSDEC conducted a Remedial Investigation (RI) at the American Cleaners Site to further delineate the horizontal and vertical extent of contamination. The program included subsurface soil sampling, construction of piezometers and monitoring wells and the collection of indoor air samples. The results of the RI were presented in a Remedial Investigation Report dated July 2001.

Remedial Design

In November 2002, the NYSDEC issued a Record of Decision (ROD) which identified the selected remedy for the site. Because of the difficulty in accessing the basement of the American Cleaners building, and the limited space available for excavation and removal of contaminated soil beneath the basement floor, the approach to the remedial design involved demolition of the building and cover of the area to be excavated with a sprung structure to allow access to the area of soil contamination and to control the release of vapors during excavation. The selected remedy included the following elements:

  • Demolition of all aboveground and below-ground structures;
  • Excavation and off-site disposal of contaminated soil; and
  • Site restoration, including backfill of open excavations and foundation areas, grading placement of 6 inches of topsoil and seeding.

The NYSDEC retained D&B to complete the remedial design program for the American Cleaners site, which included the following:

Pre-Design Investigation

The first element of the remedial design program involved the completion of a Pre-Design Investigation to gather additional information necessary for preparing the remedial design documents. The Pre-Design Investigation included the following activities:

  • Two rounds of depth-to-groundwater measurements to confirm the thickness of unsaturated soil beneath the building requiring excavation;
  • Collection of groundwater samples from each of the five existing groundwater monitoring wells located outside of the American Cleaners building to confirm previous investigation results which concluded that groundwater is not significantly contaminated with site related compounds;
  • Completion of an asbestos and lead based paint survey of the building to determine disposal options for demolition debris and preparation of a certified property survey;
  • Collection of subsurface soil samples for waste disposal characterization;
  • Preparation of a certified boundary survey to serve as the base plan for the remedial design drawings; and
  • Performance of a geophysical survey using ground penetrating radar and precision utility locating techniques to identify the location, size, depth and configuration of an underground storage tank and ancillary piping at the site.

The results of the Pre-Design Investigation were presented in a letter report which was submitted to the NYSDEC for review during the preparation of the remedial design documents for the project.

Sub-slab and Indoor Air Sampling and Vapor Mitigation

Following the completion of the Pre-Design Investigation, a soil vapor and indoor air sampling program was developed and implemented by D&B as requested by the NYSDEC and New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH). The work was performed as part of New York State’s initiative to assess soil vapor intrusion at all remedial sites. The soil vapor and indoor air sampling program included the following activities:

  • Preparation of draft and final soil vapor and indoor air sampling work plans, including a site-specific Quality Assurance Project Plan ;
  • Collection and analysis of sub-slab soil vapor, basement air samples, and first floor air samples at ten residences surrounding the site;
  • Completion of indoor air quality questionnaires and building inventories to evaluate the type of structure, floor layout, and physical condition of the houses sampled;
  • Preparation of Data Usability Summary Reports; and;
  • Reduction and evaluation of the data and report preparation.

NYSDEC in conjunction with the NYSDOH retained D&B to design an active sub-slab depressurization system within the basement of the adjacent property as an interim remedial measure related to elevated levels of PCE detected in the air samples. D&B then prepared specifications and drawings for the installation the system. The design documents specified the following:

  • Development of a technical scope of work including, process flow diagrams, description of materials and equipment, project schedule, system operation and maintenance procedures, and annual operating costs;
  • Removal of the existing concrete floor slab and installation of a new floor slab;
  • Installation of a dual suction sub-slab depressurization system and ancillary equipment;
  • Sub-slab communication test requirements;
  • System start-up and testing requirements; and
  • “As-built” drawings showing the location of the system.

D&B provided construction oversight during installation of the active sub-slab depressurization system.

Specifications and Drawings

american cleaners

Specifications and drawings were then prepared for the purpose of competitively bidding the remedial construction in conformance with the NYSDEC Standard Contract Documents. The specifications contained contractor submittal requirements, including preparation of a project schedule; site-specific sampling and analysis plan; and a site-specific health and safety plan which included a community air monitoring plan. The specifications also included requirements for mobilization/demobilization, site preparation, and restoration, waste disposal and management, and site security. In addition, the Contract Documents contained a bid sheet, estimated quantities for each bid item, and a maximum time period for substantial completion and final completion.

The design documents specified requirements for the following:

  • Demolition of all above and below ground structures, including all special procedures for the removal, handling and off-site transportation and disposal of asbestos and lead based paint;
  • Excavation of contaminated soil, including all requirements for sheeting, shoring, dewatering and protection of the excavation;
  • Removal and disposal of a 550-gallon underground storage tank;
  • Backfill of the excavated area with clean soil, including topsoil, seed and mulch; and
  • Replacement of groundwater monitoring wells.

Design Report

As part of the remedial design program, D&B prepared a Design Report describing the major elements of the project, the basis of design, supporting data, documentation, design calculations, assumptions and uncertainties.

Pre-Award Services

D&B provided pre-award services in conjunction with the competitive bidding of the remedial construction project, including the following:

  • D&B attended and assisted the NYSDEC with a mandatory on-site pre-bid conference and site walkover. Important aspects of the project were outlined for prospective bidders;
  • D&B prepared written responses to questions raised at the pre-bid conference and any necessary addenda to the plans and specifications; and
  • D&B performed a technical evaluation of the bids and prepared a tabulation of the bid prices. D&B reviewed the apparent lowest bidder’s technical pre-award submittals to determine conformance with the requirements of the Contract Documents.

Construction Oversight

The NYSDEC retained D&B to provide construction oversight activities during remedial construction at the American Cleaners Site. D&B’s responsibilities during construction included the following:

Contractor Submittals

D&B reviewed contractor submittals for compliance with the requirements of the Contract Documents. Each submittal was reviewed and D&B provided the NYSDEC with recommendations to accept, reject or require modifications to each submittal provided by the contractor for the duration of the project. Major submittals reviewed during construction included the following:

  • Interim and Final Project Schedule;
  • Interim and Final Schedule of Shop Drawings;
  • Interim and Final Schedule of Values;
  • Health and Safety Plan;
  • Sampling and Analysis Plan;
  • Contingency Plan;
  • Work and Waste Handling Plan;
  • Storm Water Management Plan;
  • Shop Drawings:
    • Temporary Fencing;
    • Office Trailer Floor Plan;
    • Dewatering Application;
    • General Fill Certifications;
    • Landscaping Certifications;
  • Surveys (Initial Site Survey, Intermediate Site Survey and As-Built Survey);
  • Copies of all results of laboratory tests, waste characterization forms, chain of custody forms and waste manifests; and
  • Copies of contractor’s correspondence to regulatory agencies, and applications for permits and approvals.

Construction Observation

D&B served as the on-site representative for the NYSDEC Division of Environmental Remediation during implementation of the remedial construction at the American Cleaners Site. D&B held a preconstruction meeting to finalize the contractor’s schedule and format for payment requests, reports and project correspondence, and review the status of submittals and procedures for communications.

Full-time on-site construction monitoring services were provided by D&B during the remedial construction, which included observation of all construction activities, signing manifests and bills of lading for disposal of hazardous and non-hazardous waste as an agent to the NYSDEC, holding bi-weekly project meetings, issuing instructions, field orders, interpretations and clarification of the contract language to the contractor, providing change order management services, and assisting NYSDEC with contractor disputes and concerns raised by the public. D&B reviewed the contractor’s applications for payment and provided the NYSDEC with recommendations for approval or modification of all payment requests submitted by the contractor.

In addition, D&B maintained a daily log book of work completed on-site, including documentation of contractor personnel, material and equipment used during the project to allow for the quantification of the contractor’s work. Photographic documentation of construction activities was also conducted.

Once excavation of contaminated soil was complete, the contractor collected and analyzed confirmatory soil samples in the excavated areas to evaluate the effectiveness of the excavation removal. D&B obtained split soil samples from the contractor for analysis for quality control purposes, and provided the NYSDEC with the results of such analyses.

At the completion of construction, D&B provided full time on-site monitoring during the contractor’s demobilization and site restoration work. D&B completed an inspection of the completed work at the time of substantial completion. A punch list was prepared by D&B detailing those items remaining unfinished, and upon satisfactory completion, D&B completed a final inspection of the site. D&B prepared and issued substantial and final completion certifications for the project.

Final Remediation Report

NYSDEC - American5

Upon completion of the remedial construction, D&B prepared a Final Remediation Report summarizing the work performed, describing all variations from the Contract Documents, providing “as-built” drawings (prepared by the contractor) and including construction observation records and confirmatory sampling results. The report was signed and sealed by a professional engineer licensed to practice in the State of New York.

In total, 465 tons of hazardous waste soil was excavated from the site, transported and disposed of off-site in accordance with the Contract Documents. In addition, a 550-gallon single-walled, steel underground storage tank and associated piping was excavated and removed from the site. As previously indicated, demolition and removal of the on-site building was required in order to facilitate excavation of the PCE-impacted soil. Asbestos and lead based paint abatement resulted in the removal and proper off-site transportation and disposal of 27 bags of asbestos containing materials and approximately 800 pounds of hazardous waste lead material. Finally, approximately 75 pounds of fluorescent light ballasts containing polychlorinated biphenyl was properly transported and disposed of off-site during building demolition activities.

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