Environmental remediation keeps estimators guessing on final costs

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Village officials said last Thursday that likely environmental remediation of the Public Works facility construction site could cost up to $2 million, adding as much 10 percent to the final cost of any new complex, which current estimates put at between $17.5 million and $21.5 million. Some degree of contamination of the land under that site by decades of industrial use is considered likely. Prior to being used as a garage by the Public Works Department in the mid-'70s, the garage was used as a car dealership, and before that a garage.

"It's always been a vehicle-related facility. That's been the historic use," said Assistant Village Manager Pete Dame, who added that there is almost always petroleum contamination at such sites. It's currently unclear just what else is present in the soil below the site.

"There may be a number of things buried there," architect Ernie Wagner of Holabird & Root said last Thursday. "But we won't know until we start digging."

Dame noted that the extent of the required environmental cleanup will likely be determined by the final design concept chosen. The first two design concepts call for more shallow foundations, and thus would require less excavation. That would allow for environmental cleanup, and the installation of an "engineered barrier" under the foundation concrete that would seal off any contaminants still present.

The third design concept, which features below grade work spaces, including a salt storage area, would require deeper excavation, said Dame, and thus greater remediation.

In any event, the final say on what will be required will come from the Environmental Protection Agency, said Dame.

"The EPA sets the standards, and absolutely would be involved," he said.

?#34;Bill Dwyer

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