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Oct. 19, 2010: Public Works.com

MACTEC Mitigation Efforts Paving Way For Redeveloping Blighted Pensacola Neighborhood

A blighted and contaminated Pensacola, Florida neighborhood is being cleaned up with plans to eventually redevelop as a commercial business park that will not only help the environment and improve the area, but generate tax revenue for Escambia County.

The Clarinda Triangle site encompasses over 15 acres including 78 abandoned residential structures and associated outbuildings located on 49 tracts. More than 45 families were relocated in 2006 because of major contaminants found nearby at an abandoned wood preserving facility.

The area adjacent to the site is the Escambia Treating Company Superfund Site (ETC). It initially contained dangerous levels of a wide variety of chemicals, some of which included arsenic, dioxin, dieldrin, toluene, benzene, copper, PCP and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). The nearby Escambia Treating Company operated from 1943 to 1982. ETC manufactured wood products treated with creosote and pentachlorophenol (PCP). Products included utility poles and foundation pilings. The company filed for bankruptcy and abandoned the site in 1991.

Since the relocation of the residents, the neighborhood became inhabited with vagrants and was known for significant illegal drug-related activities. Illegal dumping of garbage, tires, construction and demolition debris also became rampant. Adjacent businesses were negatively impacted by the neighborhoods decline and Escambia County officials were inundated with calls for action.

Utilizing funding provided through a grant (known as the Neighborhood Stabilization Program; funded by/through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) administered by the Neighborhood Enterprise Foundation, Inc., MACTEC was retained by the County's Community & Environment Bureau/Community Redevelopment Agency in 2009 to manage, design and execute the clean-up of the property.

Key tasks to date have included the following:

  • Hazardous and Regulated Material Survey – MACTEC initiated its services by performing a thorough Hazardous and Regulated Materials Survey of the property that identified materials that required special handling during the clean-up. This process identified asbestos-containing materials, lead-based paint, and equipment containing PCBs, mercury, CFCs and many other regulated materials.
  • Design – Prepared permitted design documents for the major tasks associated with the property clean-up.
  • Removal and disposal of asbestos –Asbestos-containing materials were identified in over 50 structures on the property. These materials were removed by a Florida Licensed Abatement Contractor subcontracted to MACTEC.

It was determined that many structures were not safe to enter and perform asbestos abatement in accordance with typical abatement procedures. With Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) involvement and approval, alternative abatement procedures were designed that met the original intent of regulations for protecting the environment and health and safety of workers. These generally included performing selective demolition of the non-asbestos containing building components which removed the structural hazards prior to asbestos abatement commencing.

  • Removal and disposal of hazardous and regulated materials: Subcontractors collected, sorted, containerized, temporarily stored, transported and properly disposed various materials:
    1. Category A: paint cans with liquid residuals, cleaners (liquid and powder), solvents (paint or degreaser types), fuels, motor or other oils, miscellaneous hazardous chemicals (dry or liquid), anti-freeze solutions, fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides.
    2. Category B: fluorescent mercury lamps, mercury vapor lamps, high intensity discharge lamps, electrical ballast (from lamp fixtures) mercury thermostats, smoke detectors, lead acid batteries, nickel-cadmium batteries, lead flashing.
    3. Category C: medical & biohazards wastes, syringes and needles (used or unused), drugs (legal and illegal).
    4. Category D: refrigerators/freezer, window air conditioning units, washers/dryers, water heaters, televisions, electric motors, mechanical equipment (larger automotive parts, lawn mowers, small engine equipment, etc.
  • Tree protection – A tree survey was performed in accordance with the Escambia County Land Development Code. Many protected trees were identified in the demolition work area and those regulated trees were protected accordingly.
  • Septic tank abandonment - 26 septic tanks were identified throughout the neighborhood, abandonment permits were received from the local Health Department and proper abandonment was performed. One septic tank contained over 25 gallons of waste motor oil. Assessment and remediation of that site is being handled by the EPA and their contractors (the EPA still owns the property).
  • Utility decommissioning - On-site utility decommissioning involved significant coordination with Emerald Coast Utilities Authority (water and sewer), Energy Services of Pensacola (gas), Gulf Power Company, and various telephone and cable TV providers. The coordination involved meeting with each company on-site separately on multiple occasions to ensure proper utility locations and proper disconnect.
  • Stormwater pollution prevention - Prepared a detailed Stormwater Pollution Prevention (SWPP) Plan that was utilized by the subcontracted demolition and vegetation removal contractor to obtain an NPDES Permit. Installed Best Management Practices (BMPs) included silt fence and hay bales.
  • Demolition of structures - Following the asbestos abatement and removal of hazardous and regulated materials, 78 residential structures and out buildings were demolished using conventional methods.
  • Recycled material - Waste minimization was an important project goal for the County. In the planning stages of the project a detailed salvage and recycling plan was developed and implemented. Over 50 percent of the demolition waste stream from the project was recycled. The majority of this was in the form of steel, concrete and tires.
  • Vegetation removal and site grading – All vegetation less than 4-inches in diameter was cut and most of that was chipped on site and left for mulch. Depressed areas due to foundation demolition, septic tank abandonment, and even a swimming pool were filled with clean fill to facilitate positive surface water flow across the site. Over 1,000 cubic feet of soil was imported to the site. At the completion of the vegetation removal and grading about 5 acres of the site required seeding.
  • Fencing – At the completion of most site activities over one-mile of 6-feet high chain-link fencing was installed around the site perimeter to add to the areas security and deter dumping on the property.

The Clarinda Triangle clean-up project is expected to be completed in October 2010. At the completion of the project the site will be left clear and left with established grasses in a mowable condition that the County can maintain until future development. It is anticipated that it will take about two years for the property ownership to be transferred to Escambia County at which time the County will move forward with redevelopment plans. There are also discussions underway within the City of Pensacola leadership to annex the property.

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