Wayland: Asbestos cleanup continues at Rivers Edge site

Wayland: Asbestos cleanup continues at Rivers Edge site

Source: https://www.metrowestdailynews.com, December 19, 2018
By: Henry Schwan

Asbestos must be removed before work can begin at Rivers Edge. A town official said asbestos removal is all but done. But the state Department of Environmental Protection says there’s another phase in the process.

While Town Administrator Louise Miller said “we’re done with all the work” in cleaning up asbestos from a dirt pile at of a proposed 188-unit, affordable-housing development, the state Department of Environmental Protection says another step awaits.

Meanwhile, developer Wood Partners said it is “absolutely” committed to the project, according to Director Jim Lambert.

Miller provided an update for selectmen on the proposed Rivers Edge project at 484-490 Boston Post Road. A small amount of asbestos was previously found in a dirt pile on the property. Wayland owns the land, and is responsible for removing the contaminant, according to the DEP.

Miller also told selectmen that a final DEP inspection could happen any day. A phone call and email to Miller for comment were not returned by the print deadline for this story.

A DEP spokesman confirmed that materials, including soils, concrete and brick rubble were inspected, and visible pieces of asbestos were removed. But added that there’s another phase that involves spreading the remaining materials out and sampling them to see if they also contain asbestos. And if they do, Wayland must develop a plan — approved by the DEP — to remove it.

If no additional asbestos is found, then the soil can either be reused on the site or removed.

Asbestos is a multi-fiber material commonly used in insulation and fireproofing. Life-threatening diseases, including cancer of the lungs, abdomen and heart, are possible when people are exposed to asbestos fibers released into the air, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The DEP has inspected the site twice, according to its spokesman, and will make another visit after the final sampling of materials is complete and results are known.

Wayland’s licensed site professional has also inspected the site, according to the DEP.

Wood Partners is discussing the possibility of again extending the sales agreement, Lambert said, so that the company can continue inspecting the land for possible contaminants beyond asbestos. According to Lambert, Wood Partners can’t complete the job until the DEP tells it that all asbestos has been removed.

The current 90-day extension expires at the end of February. Extensions were needed after the asbestos discovery.

All 188 units would count toward Wayland’s affordable-housing stock, and they would put Wayland’s affordable-housing supply above 9 percent. That still falls short of the threshold in the state’s 40B affordable housing law, which requires 10 percent. If a town is not at that benchmark, a developer could build a project that bypasses local zoning regulations, and result in a development that is bigger than a community wants.

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