BURLINGTON, Vt. – With the renovation of City Hall Park set to begin this summer, city officials have teamed up with an environmental management company to address contaminated soil during construction.
A preliminary soil test in 2017 showed PAHs that exceeded standards. PAHs, or Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, are a group of organic chemicals found in fossil fuels.
Chris Page, project scientist for Waite Hendel Environmental Management, said the contamination is common and caused by automobile exhaust, cigarette smoke and other similar sources.
“The concentrations we’re looking at here are not an immediate threat to any park users, but they do exceed standards and therefore require management,” Page said.
Page mentioned fires as another likely source of the contamination, citing the 1888 YMCA fire on Church Street and the ceremonial burning of the last trolley in Burlington as examples.
Similar contaminations have been discovered and addressed at other construction sites around Burlington, including Burlington Skatepark and the ECHO Center.
During renovations, crews will fill in several areas with new soil and address the contaminated areas.
“As hardscape and garden areas are being dug, those soils will be stockpiled on-site to the extent possible, but if site conditions get too tight and people aren’t able to get work done easily, there is an off-site soil stockpile location.”
The off-site location is the former Burlington landfill, but after renovations are completed, some soil may be transported to the Coventry landfill.
The Department of Conservation is holding an ongoing public comment period on the plan.