FORT EDWARD — Nearby businesses and residences around the General Electric Co.’s vacant buildings off of Broadway will have their air monitored once more, as contractors start deconstruction of buildings at the contaminated site later this month.
Total Wrecking & Environmental, a Buffalo contractor, will conduct the approximately nine-month project, according to a GE project overview document.
Local officials were notified on Wednesday that deconstruction would begin during the week of Oct. 21, said John Brodt, vice president of Behan Communications and a spokesman for GE.
Brodt added that “we will be going door-to-door in neighborhoods closest to the site in coming days to provide neighbors an overview of the project and a phone number to call should they have questions in the months ahead. We do not anticipate that the work will cause neighbors any inconvenience, but we want to be sure that they know how to reach us.”
A community air monitoring plan has been published on the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s website, which identifies the Washington County Office Building as one of the closest neighbors to potentially see air-quality impacts. Monitoring will be for various volatile vapors, particulates and PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, which are suspected to cause cancer.
Businesses and residences on the west side of Lower Allen Street, the south side of Park Avenue and the east side of Broadway are also highlighted as potential receptors.
“If these materials are detected at levels established by the state, we will take immediate actions to address them,” a GE project document stated.
Contractors will use water to keep down dust, and tarps to cover contaminated material, among other best practices, according to the air monitoring plan.
“Sampling for airborne PCBs will be performed daily during the demolition of the exterior Main Manufacturing Building and outbuildings,” according to the air monitoring plan.
Air monitoring will not take place during pre-demolition activities, but in some instances during demolition, “locations will be subject to real-time measurement of airborne particulates and vapors and/or sample collection for subsequent PCB laboratory analysis.”
PCB air samples have to be sent to a state-certified lab for analysis.
There appears to be six air monitoring stations, according to a map in the air monitoring plan.
Fort Edward Supervisor Terry Middleton said he has asked for the air monitoring results to be sent to the town.
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The main site at 381 Broadway is approximately 32 acres and includes what used to be General Electric’s main manufacturing building and more than 10 smaller buildings. Starting in 1946, GE manufactured capacitors. By 1977, PCB use in that process was discontinued.
The plant closed in the spring of 2016.
GE has already removed most of the equipment inside the buildings, and its next step will be deconstructing them, according to the “community update” newsletter from the DEC emailed on Oct. 9. A wastewater treatment plant will remain on site.
DEC said deconstruction work will begin inside the buildings. There are still materials filled with asbestos and some stray equipment and debris to remove.
Other building demolition activities expected, site documents show, are:
- Disconnecting of utilities;
- Demolishing of the main manufacturing building and others;
- Loading of building debris for off-site transport and disposal;
- Restoring the site including backfilling, grading and managing stormwater.
While the air monitoring plan does use the word “demolition” Brodt said there will be no explosives or wrecking ball when dismantling the buildings. Instead, an excavator will take the buildings down in sections.
“All vehicles will enter and exit the property from the main Route 4/Broadway entrance,” according to a GE project overview document. “Work will be limited to weekday, daytime hours, and no road closures will be required.”
Middleton said Behan Communications told him there would be about 15 trucks per day, so he didn’t expect there to be an impact on traffic.
Once the buildings are removed, there will be an investigation of the soils underneath.