Starting in 2010, VERTEX was engaged by the HYM Investment Group to develop an environmental strategy to support development of the storied 30-acre parcel of land in Boston and Cambridge. The site, known as Cambridge Crossing, was formerly known as NorthPoint. The property was formerly the location of the Boston & Maine railroad yard and numerous supporting and ancillary facilities including boiler houses, gas plants, coal yards, repair shops, a glass factory, wash facilities, and other industrial uses.
From the onset of the project, it was clear that reducing the uncertainty surrounding the environmental condition of the property would be needed to satisfy investor and regulatory concerns. As such, VERTEX performed a comprehensive site investigation shortly after property acquisition that included the installation of approximately 120 borings, 40 monitoring wells, and collection of hundreds of soil and groundwater samples for laboratory analysis. Data regarding field observations, sample characteristics, and laboratory samples were uploaded into a sophisticated geospatial environmental database and GIS visualization software.
With a baseline understanding of the environmental challenges at the site, VERTEX then worked with HYM and the rest of the design team to overlay numerous development scenarios to plan the best locations of site improvements and minimize potential environmental remediation costs where possible. VERTEX also worked closely with the engineers and environmental professionals for the associated MBTA Green Line Extension project to ensure that the mutual goals of the two projects were met.
In addition to the findings of the site investigation, numerous releases of petroleum and hazardous materials had already been sporadically identified and reported over the years, resulting in a complicated regulatory and compliance status for the site. VERTEX worked directly with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to proactively implement a streamlined and cost-effective compliance strategy that best met the business needs of the project. The compliance strategy and remediation decision tree ultimately simplified release tracking at the property to allow soil movement to occur across individual parcel lines during development and alleviate the burden of several reporting requirements under different regulatory timelines.
Between 2012 and 2015, VERTEX acted as the environmental lead for the construction of a 20-story commercial and residential tower at the site. As part of redevelopment activities, VERTEX oversaw soil management, reacted to unexpected findings during excavation, directed the construction of clean cover features to protect future site users, and documented conditions as needed to achieve and maintain compliance with the MCP. In 2015, VERTEX submitted a Partial Permanent Solution Statement, which allowed for the sale of the parcel to a new owner, successfully completing the first phase of redevelopment for the project.
Additionally, VERTEX assessed airborne contaminant exposures associated with earthwork and subsurface construction tasks. The VERTEX project team, directed by a Certified Industrial Hygienist, worked with the developer and its subcontractors to understand the tasks to be conducted, developed a site-specific health and safety procedures, conducted employee training, and conducted personal air sampling on workers using active sampling protocols as well as personal air monitoring instruments. Contaminants monitored included: volatile organic compounds using a personal Photoionization Detector (PID); airborne particulates using a personal data Realtime Air Monitor (RAM). Furthermore, antimony, arsenic, barium, lead, vanadium, total hydrocarbons, and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons were also monitored using filters and sorbent tubes by active sampling methods and laboratory analysis. Results were compared to occupational health guidelines and reported along with conclusions to the client. The program was program of monitoring, administrative and engineering controls was successful in keeping exposure levels below the OSHA and site specific standards.
Currently, VERTEX is providing the ongoing strategic and technical consulting services for the redevelopment of several additional parcels at the site.