In a less-enlightened era, property owners didn't know about the toxicity of chemicals used in gas stations, dry-cleaning operations and many manufacturing processes. Residual substances now plague the grounds of historic buildings – in locations that could now be used for housing or other productive purposes.
I interviewed principals of a remediation firm in Massachusetts (Environmental Compliance Services, Inc.) that helps developers navigate these situations, identifying what is present on-site and ways to affordably remove such substances as perchloroethylene, asbestos, polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBP), benzene, tolulene and MTBE leachate. Where remediation is feasible, fine old buildings as well as new structures can turn brownfields into homes, schools, commercial property and even recreational facilities.
Russ Klettke is a business writer with extensive experience in topics relating to sustainable design and building, real estate, finance, fitness, health, nutrition, law and many other topics. Contact him to discuss your organization's communications needs.
Photo: The Nonotuck Mill in Northhampton, Massachusetts was built in the 1830s and once served as a stop on the Underground Railroad. A $500,000 site remediation was necessary, but was found to be affordable in its new incarnation; the 21st century building also uses a ground-source heating and cooling system (geothermal).