By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — Work to address contamination remaining from an abandoned, backfilled burn dump off Frank Bean Road and Morin Road is expected to be completed in the next few weeks at $100,000 less than the budgeted cost of $1.2 million.
The dump, which operated in the 1940s and 1950s, is part of a site that sprawls over 75 acres on either side of Frank Bean Road, which also includes an abandoned landfill owned by the city. The burn dump itself extends over four lots totaling about 3.5 acres. Three of the lots abut one another on the west side of Frank Bean Road and the fourth is bordered by Frank Bean Road to the west and Morin Road to the east. Altogether, the dump stretches along Frank Bean Road for about 1,000 feet and is 250 feet at its widest point. The dump was between 15 and 20 feet deep. The area is estimated to contain approximately 110,000 cubic yards of "burn dump material."
The site first drew attention from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services in May 2003 while excavating for a foundation, and in 2011, after several rounds of sampling and monitoring, the agency directed the city to take remedial measures. Originally, the city planned to excavate contaminated soils on the four lots and dispose of the material off site, then backfill, cap or pave the lots at an estimated cost of $1.4 million. Ongoing monitoring of groundwater and maintenance of pavement at the site for another 15 years was expected to raise the total cost to about $1.7 million.
However, the city proposed and the Department of Environmental Services approved an alternative plan to purchase the four lots, demolish the buildings and cap the land with 2 feet of clean soil, sparing the cost of excavating, transporting and disposing of contaminated soil, which represented the lion's share of the cost of the original proposal. Strategic Environmental Services, headquartered in Sutton, Massachusetts, working together with Nobis Engineering, Inc., is going the work, which includes installing drainage on the area between Frank Bean Road and Morin Road, which slopes steeply down toward three large commercial buildings on Province Road.
The city borrowed $1.2 million for the project, of which $304,000 was spent acquiring three of the four lots and $271,000 spent for professional and engineering services to prepare the bid for the work, leaving a balance of $625,000. The low bid was about $420,000, plus another $65,000 for overseeing the project, $10,000 for water sampling and $30,000 in unforeseen costs beyond the scope of the bid. Altogether $1.1 million has been expended or encumbered.
Catch basins will manage the stormwater on the steep slopes of the lot between Frank Bean Road and Morin Road, which is being capped with clean fill and seeded with vegetation to contain the ash and debris remaining from the burn dump that smoldered here more than a half-century ago. (Adam Drapcho/Laconia Daily Sun)
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