The Environmental Business Council of New England (EBC) announced the winner of their James D.P. Farrell Award for Brownfields Project of the Year as the General Services Administration (GSA) Property Remedial Action project in Watertown, Massachusetts (MA). Charter Contracting Company, LLC (Charter) of Boston, MA, was the prime contractor responsible for design, engineering, and construction on this Performance Based Contract. Nobis Engineering, Inc. (Nobis) as a team member to Charter provided civil engineering, soil cover and wetland design, and was among the award recipient project stakeholders which also included: the GSA; the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR); the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE); the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP).

The GSA Property Remedial Action in Watertown, MA, was a multi-faceted, collaborative project that transformed a 13-acre contaminated, unused, urban brownfield site into an essential community greenspace and wetlands habitat. The property was impacted by historical waste management storage and the burning of scrap. As the first Formerly Used Defense Site (FUDS) to transition from federal to local ownership, the success of the remediation project exemplified brownfields revitalization and stakeholder collaboration. After 94 years of federal ownership and 35 years of pressure from Watertown officials on behalf of their constituents, the political and financial conditions aligned for cleanup and redevelopment of the U.S. Army’s former Watertown Arsenal site. The project was successfully funded, achieved remediation goals, and returned the site to DCR ownership, where it would “fit into the DCR’s Charles River unit” and create a greenspace corridor in the heart of the city, according to Michael Misslin, Chief Engineer with the DCR. The land now provides recreational areas, flood mitigation, and wildlife conservation.

Between 2012 and 2014, Nobis provided environmental engineering services to Charter in support of site remedial actions, including:
• development of remedial action work plans;
• drainage analyses;
• soil delineation investigations;
• the engineering design of a 2-acre cover over polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) impacted soil (<50ppm); • design of a 2-acre wetland replication area featuring an emergent island and 620 wetland plantings; off-site disposal of 950 tons of PCB soil (>50ppm);
• and remedial action closure reporting.

The EBC’s Annual EBEE awards are given for “outstanding environmental / energy accomplishments in the promotion of a sustainable, clean environment” and the Brownfields Project of the Year is awarded to a Brownfields project “that serves as an example of excellence notwithstanding the social, economic, technical and institutional challenges imposed.” The EBEE Awards were presented at the EBC’s 2015 Annual Meeting and EBEE Awards Celebration held on Thursday June 18, 2015 at the Newton Marriott Hotel with former Massachusetts’ Governor William F. Weld as the scheduled keynote speaker.

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