Our Soil is Remediated

By Jessica Schultz

Our new building site occupies an area of former apple orchard. Historically, orchards were commonly treated with chemicals to reduce pest organisms. In some of these orchards, chemicals such as arsenic accumulated in soils. This was the case at our new site and the Hitchcock Center believed strongly, that the accumulation of arsenic in the soil be remediated and our team went to work on a solution. During the past few weeks, the work has been in progress and is now complete.

How was our soil remediated? Extensive testing on a standard grid across the site indicated where levels were high and informed a remediation plan prepared by O’Reilly, Talbot, and Okun (OTO). The requirements were that 9 inches of soil be stripped from across the site. With coordination from our construction manager Wright Builders, Karl’s Excavating began “stripping” the top layer of soil into piles (you may have seen them under white tarps). Once complete, the piles were tested and additional samples were tested across the site to determine the new baseline levels. A small area still contained levels that were too high, and another 3 inches needed to be stripped.

The contaminated soil was buried in the area that will eventually become our parking lot. Carefully, work was done to dig and bury, dig and bury, around the parking area to ensure all the soil would fit. In this way, the Hitchcock Center was able to save money by keeping the soil on site, rather than having to haul it away. OTO was on site daily during this process to monitor that the work was completed to standard, and to test soil samples as needed.

A timelapse of this work is available here from Reelife Documentary Productions:

Hitchcock Center Construction Timelapse both angles from Reelife Productions on Vimeo.

Jessica Schultz is Communication and Capital Project Coordinator for the Hitchcock Center. She guides on-going media relations, website and social media, publications, marketing planning and photography. She also supports the Executive Director and building committee in planning for a new environmental learning center.

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