Despite the news that state environmental regulators have delayed giving Wynn Everett its full certificate, Wynn officials said Monday night that they are allowed – and will – continue on with the environmental cleanup of the casino site.
They estimated that contaminated soils at three “hot spots” on the site could be removed late this summer.
After the news on Friday concerning the certificate, many wondered what it would mean for the environmental cleanup portion of the project. Already, much of the exploratory work has gotten underway through last fall and this winter – with samples and borings being taken as recently as a few weeks ago.
On Monday night at a meeting in Charlestown, Wynn officials said they do not have to stop work on the environmental portion.
“The environmental work takes one path, and the secretary certificate work takes another path,” said Bob DeSalvio, Wynn Everett president. “This (environmental work) has a totally separate track that’s apart from the secretary’s work. Don’t think of them combined together. Think of them as separate tracks.”
Environmental consultant Larry Feldman, of GZM Consultants, affirmed that take during Monday’s meeting, which was between Wynn and Engaged Charlestown Residents.
“Yes, it can continue,” he said. “The remediation is done under the Massachusetts Contingency Plan (MCP). That’s a separate track and does not require a state permit and is progressing along.”
However, DeSalvio stopped short of making a state
To date, the only work to be done is exploratory, and Wynn officials made particular note that they would inform the communities of Charlestown and Everett before any soil removals begin.
Feldman said to date they have done 195 environmental borings, 24 geotechnical borings, 24 groundwater wells, 1,776 soil samples, 96 core samples and more than 200 sediment samples from the waterway cove. The environmental borings went down about 50 feet, while the geotechnical went down 124 feet and into the bedrock.
“We did work through the winter,” Feldman said. “There are snowplowing bills due because we had to plow to get to wells. This is just exploratory work; just investigation now.”
Moving forward, Feldman said they are working to complete what is known as a Remediation Action Management Plan – or a RAM plan. That should come within the next 30 days, he said.
“We expect to have that submitted to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) by the end of the month,” he said. “May 1st would be a decent bet. At some point, we do the work.”
Once the RAM Plan is submitted, Feldman said they would begin to solicit bids from a short-list of contractors. That should happen in late May or June. However, Feldman and other Wynn officials stopped short of giving any dates that bids would be accepted and contracts awarded for the clean up.
That said, it is expected to happen some time in the summer, and soil removals are expected from the hot spots this summer.
Feldman said the clean up would happen in three pieces.
First, two hot spots, one on the northern end of the property and one on the central part of the property, contain high levels of lead and arsenic. They will be excavated this summer and removed by truck.
A third hot spot on the front shoreline is polluted with sulfuric acid – causing a low pH level of 1. That level needs to be brought up to a level of 4, Feldman said, and the soil needs to be solidified to prevent metals from traveling through he soil and into the water.
That, he said, would be accomplished by using a lime/cement mixture that will increase the pH and neutralize the acid in the soil. At the same time, it will create a solid barrier of the consistency of Styrofoam. That will, Feldman said, prevent polluted materials from passing through.
While that is being accomplished, and throughout the two-season-long clean up, larger amounts of soil from all over the site will be removed and shipped off by either truck, barge or rail.
All vehicles leaving the site will be closed containers that consultants said are nearly “foolproof” in regards to spilling.
The following construction season – the summer of 2016 – the clean up will focus on dredging the sediment from the waterfront cove area.
“By the time we’re done, it will be perfectly safe to do any activity – walking your dog, having a picnic or any outdoor activity,” said Consultant Chris Gordon.
“We’re being very, very cautious and taking a lot of care,” said Feldman. “There will be a lot of scrutiny and a lot of people watching us.”
One major piece of information that hasn’t been answered yet is the route that trucks removing soil would take.
DeSalvio said it could very well be through Everett or it could be through Charlestown – or even a combination of both. That’s because the trucks will be taking the quickest route to I-93, and depending on where the final destination is, the route cannot be determined.
“It will either be going out through 93 (in Charlestown) or out on Rt. 16 (in Everett),” said Gordon. “It will be going out on a highway. It’s not going next door. It will go out of state. They’ll take the shortest route to the highway and that will depend on where they’re going.”
DeSalvio pledged to not use neighborhood streets in either community – even if they are truck routes. In Charlestown, he pledged that trucks would definitely not use Medford Street, Main Street or Bunker Hill Street.
“We’ll keep an eye on it; we’re going to pay attention,” said Gordon.
DeSalvio and other Wynn officials pledged to return in the summer as soon as a contractor is chosen – bringing the contractor to another meeting to answer questions.