Potential Exelon Mystic Station Redevelopment | Everett

shmessy

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Yup, just a visual landmark is all. Historic reminder of Boston's industrial past. Plus, I just like tall things in general. I like the sense of awe and the sense of place of something that visually dominates its area.
I hear ya. It's all good. IMHO, the street level/liveliness is more important, then comes the beauty of a building. To me just height is a distant third. I just don't get the same thrill when I drive past this:

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stellarfun

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Here's a possibly dumb question.
Does the level of site remediation depend on the intended use of the planned project.
Say a certain mr. Kraft wanted to build an open air stadium, would the site require the same remediation as if it was earmarked for residence and hotel rooms?
1.) it depends on what the contamination is; 2.) it depends on future use.

If the site was contaminated with mercury from coal, then remediation for any use (other than a park) is prohibitive, so that portion of a site would be capped, and mercury left in place. However, I rather doubt that the coal burned at the plant was bituminous coal from central Appalachia (which contains high concentrations of mercury). The Salem Harbor plant -- first units built in 1947 -- was demolished less than 10 years ago -- oil and coal fired -- and the remediation cost was apparently significantly less than expected. (A new natural gas plant was constructed to replace the oil-coal plant; this freed up 20-30 acres of former coal yard, oil tank farm for future development.)

Mercury is THE bitch to remediate, because it volatilizes on a warm day, and reverts to liquid form on a cool night. $3 billion is the estimate to remediate mercury contamination at an industrial complex at Oak Ridge where deuterium was made. IIRC, that complex itself was similar in size to Mystic Station.. And 75 years ago, the government took pro-active steps to minimize the contamination, ultimately to little avail.

What I expect they would do at Mystic Station is scrape away surface contamination, cap, and build on top of the thick cap of clay/cement. There is little point in excavating here, as the costs can quickly escalate because of transportation and disposal of the excavated soil. And the site is tidal.

The other contaminants I would be concerned about are those associated with the manufacture of illuminating gas, if this was originally a site for manufacturing this gas locally.
 

chrisbrat

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At the very least I would like to see the tallest smokestack remain. At a full 500' it has really stood out as a landmark for my entire lifetime, particularly from my most attended view (Robbins Farm Park, Arlington, off Route 2). You know whatever replaces this will never come close to 500'.
having spent many (most) winter afternoons sledding at robbins and looking at the skyline i agree multifold for the same reasons.
 

JumboBuc

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What I expect they would do at Mystic Station is scrape away surface contamination, cap, and build on top of the thick cap of clay/cement. There is little point in excavating here, as the costs can quickly escalate because of transportation and disposal of the excavated soil. And the site is tidal.
Would this site's direct dock access lessen the cost of contaminated soil removal? I know remediation of the Wynn site was aided by the direct rail access there.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Would this site's direct dock access lessen the cost of contaminated soil removal? I know remediation of the Wynn site was aided by the direct rail access there.
The most painful remediation around Wynn was done 20 years earlier on the Gateway side, which was far more messed up. So it's less about how you get the dirty dirt offsite than how contaminated it originally is.

They have both the boat docks and Schnitzer's rail siding next door for hauling contaminated materials away, so they aren't for lack of options. It's more that because multiple generations of power plants have been built on this site dating back 100 years we don't have any firm idea what lurks underneath.
 

stellarfun

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Would this site's direct dock access lessen the cost of contaminated soil removal? I know remediation of the Wynn site was aided by the direct rail access there.
It depends on the contaminants that are causing the contamination. If the contaminants were allowed to be dumped in an ocean spoils area, then direct dock access would presumably lower the cost. However, if the contaminants can only be disposed of at a designated land site -- might not even be in Massachusetts -- then the cost of transportation could skyrocket.

At the Y-12 complex at Oak Ridge, the government is spending about $100 million to treat rainwater that flows off three mercury-contaminated buildings that will be demolished. Demolition cannot begin until the treatment plant is operational. The treatment plant will collect the mercury-contaminated rainwater before it spreads further on land or water..

As I said, mercury is the bitch.

This is excerpted from an EPA report of a Superfund site in Berlin NH, a former chlor alkali plant that closed 60 years ago.

The primary contaminants at the Site include mercury, dioxins, furans, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and semi-volatile organic compounds. Operations in the chemical plant used or generated these contaminants. In 1999, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) discovered mercury in the Androscoggin River directly adjacent to, and along the length of, the 4.6-acre landfill. Despite several removal efforts by NHDES and EPA, mercury continues to appear in bedrock fractures on the east bank of the Androscoggin River adjacent to the 4.6-acre landfill.
Basically, the mercury has leached into the granite bedrock, and they have yet to find a way to remove it.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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It depends on the contaminants that are causing the contamination. If the contaminants were allowed to be dumped in an ocean spoils area, then direct dock access would presumably lower the cost. However, if the contaminants can only be disposed of at a designated land site -- might not even be in Massachusetts -- then the cost of transportation could skyrocket.
For reference...here's Schnitzer's scrapyard rail siding in relation to the plant sites (see the string of empty hoppers stretching close to Rover Ave.): https://goo.gl/maps/D2LbUuPNzAWW8Nj58. Very conveniently close indeed. That's the rail-busiest end of the whole terminal with Schnitzer and CQ Cement making up the largest share of carloads on Pan Am's daily BO-1 job. Seasonally BO-1 also replenishes the massive road salt piles situated directly between those two customers (barged salt sticks to the Chelsea piles instead). It's over a mile's worth of track between New England Produce and Schnitzer meandering around, so you could definitely load up a mean shitload of dirty-dirt cars per day by virtue of being right next door to a high-capacity loading siding. May just have to rent somebody a trackmobile truck to shunt cars around during the day between 24-hr. appearances by PAR because finding storage nooks and crannies for the loaded cars amongst all the regular 24/7 scrap & cement loading is going to be a little difficult.

I don't know where the Encore dirty-dirt got sent out after it departed on the Pan Am BO extras they were running for several months during the cleanup. But being about as dead-on easy connected to the national rail network as can be with easily fungible loading space next door at Schnitzer I don't think Mystic Generating will be at any loss of options.


It's...again...us not knowing precisely what's underneath after 100 continuous years of dirty power generation that creates all pause. Could be an easier-than-expected capping. Could be a full-on Superfund quagmire that takes decades to get properly funded. Could be literally anything in between. We simply don't have access to the soil underneath the active facilities to make that determination today, which is going to throw an obvious chill on any premature crayon-doodling of the parcels.
 

Semass

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That area in the vicinity of the Island End river was used for making coal gas - the stuff that used to fuel the lights of Beacon Hill. The process is predictably dirty. Periodically, a plume of some sort of coal tar will still pop up from the miles of unmapped pipes and culverts there. There will be oil containment booms around.
 

DZH22

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Here's the far-away view of the area now. Note how the 500' smokestack thoroughly dominates the area. I honestly think you could make the argument that the tallest one is every bit the "landmark" that the Citco sign is. It's highly visible from all over. Just another neat piece of the overall skyline experience.

From the aforementioned Robbins Farm Park, Arlington

IMG_1945 by David Z, on Flickr

From Deer Island

IMG_2315 by David Z, on Flickr

IMG_2316 by David Z, on Flickr
 

stellarfun

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That area in the vicinity of the Island End river was used for making coal gas - the stuff that used to fuel the lights of Beacon Hill. The process is predictably dirty. Periodically, a plume of some sort of coal tar will still pop up from the miles of unmapped pipes and culverts there. There will be oil containment booms around.
From Wki,
Manufactured gas plants (MGPs) were typically sited near or adjacent to waterways that were used to transport in coal and for the discharge of wastewater contaminated with tar, ammonia and/or drip oils, as well as outright waste tars and tar-water emulsions.

In the earliest days of MGP operations, coal tar was considered a waste and often disposed into the environment in and around the plant locations. While uses for coal tar developed by the late-19th century, the market for tar varied and plants that could not sell tar at a given time could store tar for future use, attempt to burn it as boiler fuel, or dump the tar as waste. Commonly, waste tars were disposed of in old gas holders, adits or even mine shafts (if present). Over time, the waste tars degrade with phenols, benzene (and other mono-aromatics—BTEX) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons released as pollutant plumes that can escape into the surrounding environment. Other wastes included "blue billy",[9] which is a ferroferricyanide compound—the blue colour is from Prussian blue, which was commercially used as a dye. Blue billy is typically a granular material and was sometimes sold locally with the strap line "guaranteed weed free drives". The presence of blue billy can give gas works waste a characteristic musty/bitter almonds or marzipan smell which is associated with cyanide gas.
Phenols and benzene are nasty stuff. The Federal and District of Colombia governments joined in a cleanup of phenol deposits -- dating from eighty or more years ago-- buried near the surface of a canal bed. These were found below a yard drain for a long-demolished illuminating gas storage tank. The remediation cost was about $1,000 a square foot.

Never having heard of 'blue billy', I again went to Wiki.
Although many salts of cyanide are highly toxic, ferro- and ferricyanides are less toxic because they tend not to release free cyanide
 

Blackbird

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Here's the far-away view of the area now. Note how the 500' smokestack thoroughly dominates the area. I honestly think you could make the argument that the tallest one is every bit the "landmark" that the Citco sign is. It's highly visible from all over. Just another neat piece of the overall skyline experience.
I wonder if someday someone will be talking about the Newton/Needham TV towers like this.
 
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DZH22

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I wonder if someday someone will be talking about the Newton/Needham TV towers like this.
Fun fact the one with the triangular flared base is the tallest free-standing structure in New England, tipping the scales just over 1000'! It's like our very own Eiffel Tower!

I'll probably be the person talking about it, at least for the free-standing one.
 

JumboBuc

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FWIW, the entirety of this site sits in the Mystic River Designated Port Area (DPA), so it's subject to the same land-use restrictions that govern, for example, the eastern reaches of the Seaport.

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While water-dependent industrial uses vary in scale and intensity, they all generally share a need for infrastructure with three essential components: (1) a waterway and associated waterfront that has been developed for some form of commercial navigation or other direct utilization of the water; (2) backland space that is conducive in both physical configuration and use character to the siting of industrial facilities and operations; and (3) land-based transportation and public utility services appropriate for general industrial purposes. State policy seeks to preserve and enhance the capacity of the DPAs to accommodate water-dependent industrial uses and prevent significant impairment by non-industrial or nonwater-dependent types of development, which have a far greater range of siting options.
We've seen some lab space be allowed in the South Boston DPA, but we're not going to get residential, hotel, or entertainment uses here without a change in State regulation.

If we were to "un-DPA" some of the Mystic River DPA, it'd likely be more economically feasible to open the Charlestown side of the river up to redevelopment and move the port facilities that are there now over to Everett.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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If we were to "un-DPA" some of the Mystic River DPA, it'd likely be more economically feasible to open the Charlestown side of the river up to redevelopment and move the port facilities that are there now over to Everett.
Unlikely. The Autoport sticking its neck out on the open-water side of the Tobin makes the Moran Terminal slab way too lucrative to pass up. They can legit take Panmax ships there now.

Rather, I think on both sides of the river you're probably looking at a similar street-grid partioning of "fun stuff" from "dirty work". The idea of a Robin St. extension subdividing the Mystic Station parcels for Alford-facing redev and very substantial transportation usage of the nearest barge dock to Alford has parallels on the Charlestown side. East side of Robin Ext. would go to Everett Terminal and/or terminal-complementing redev where there's slot for another big commercial barge dock next to Schnitzer and the industrial zoning would cut down on some of the absolute worst of soil remediation costs.

It would then be mirrored on the other side by devving the Schrafft's parking lots (def need to trade all that wasted asphalt acreage vertical into a garage pronto) to densify the mixed-use from Sulivan to the office building next over from Schraffts. Schraffts boat dock gets upgraded for bigger craft, more frills on the Harborwalk. And then St. Martin's St. is the dividing line between port facilities (with Harborwalk necessarily bending in to the Medford St. Greenway until end of the block at Little Mystic inlet).. LaFarge Cement next to the Autoport takes substantial barge traffic (much like Coastal Cement @ the tip of Black Falcon in Southie they're an either/or rail or barge big chain supplier that takes sand loads by whatever mode is cheapest in the given era). And the transient-tenancy factory next door by the St. Martin's intersection has been an on-again/off-again rumor for PAR rail transloading warehouse sign-on (high-capacity double-track in-building loading dock makes it a perennial speculation for that kind of use). Massport just needs to take a second stab at the Haul Road here that was disappointingly turfed by the neighborhood NIMBY's. Linking the end of the Autoport driveway with the end of the Schraffts side driveway takes a shitload of trucks off Medford St. all points west of Belmont St. and aids that redefinition of St. Martin's as the most effective land usage dividing line, and catalyst for prettying up and densifying the mixed portions of the neighborhood.


Cumulative effect is that the slight diagonal line across river between Robin St. Ext. and St. Martin's pretty nicely re-packs the land functions. Pretty stuff facing the main thoroughfares and using the closest-to-Alford docks on either side for superior access. Uglier port-critical stuff buffered from the thoroughfares, facing inward on the river, using truck distributing routes in/out that stay well out of sight of the mixed portions of the neighborhoods, and using the much more readily barge-maneuverable docks 2000 ft. out from Alford out by the Tobin channel so the clumsiest-maneuvering vessels are spared from having to slowly slot close to the bridge.
 

Javier

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Looks like they are building a wall or something
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