SAK Environmental provided hazmat and solid waste management services to Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) for three multi-story buildings scheduled for demolition. Mass General, ranked #1 Hospital on the East Coast and #2 in America by U.S. News and World Report was planning a multimillion dollar building improvement that involved demolition of three (3) multistory buildings - some of the oldest buildings on campus, to be replaced with a state-of-the-art clinical care facility.
Construction agreements required Mass General to deliver "clean" buildings to the Construction Manager. Abatement of asbestos and lead paint were expected and straightforward. But was the floor contaminated? As the oldest buildings on campus, there was reasonable concern for mercury contamination in floor coverings and concrete decks from vintage mercury-containing equipment previously used. Initial screening indicated that mercury was present in finished floor materials which was removed and disposed, but the condition of the concrete decking was not known and visible staining was present. The CM, Owner and design team assumed that the fifteen (15) structural concrete floor slabs were free of hazardous waste and eligible to be recycled, so the potential cost and schedule impacts of SAK’s findings were significant.
SAK reviewed test data and developed a comprehensive sampling plan and protocol to test the concrete floor slabs throughout the buildings, focusing on areas which were suspect based on usage history and evidence of mercury staining in flooring materials and on the concrete slabs. Approximately 100 samples were collected over 15 floor levels. Concrete samples were pulverized and collected from the floor and tested for total and TCLP Mercury. Results were used to categorize building material as “contaminated”, “hazardous waste”, or “suitable for recycling”. No RCRA hazardous waste was present. “Contaminated” areas were limited to small portions of the building and the remainder was “suitable for recycling”. Results were favorable.
Time was of the essence and the work was conducted on an expedited schedule during the active demolition phase, and this unique sampling protocol led to accurate characterization of material for proper management in a timely manner.