April 22, 2018
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Don’t be scared: Bangor crews are just being careful during waterfront work

By Andrew Neff, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — The people wearing protective gear and resembling a hazardous waste cleanup crew may cause a lot of double-takes and curiosity at the Bangor Waterfront in the coming weeks, but there’s no need to panic.

Starting Monday, Bangor Public Works employees and workers from S.W. Cole Engineering Inc. will team up to do site inspection and preparation as part of a four-week project to ready the 2 acres bordering Front and Broad streets for a repositioned Waterfront Pavilion stage used by Waterfront Concerts.

“I call them moon suits, so I’m sure some people will wonder what the heck’s going on. We want to let people know they’ll be out there and assure them that nothing’s wrong,” said Tanya Pereira, Bangor’s economic development specialist. “Because that property has been remediated, any additional work or development on it has to be monitored and supervised.”

And because that property used to be part of a railyard, which required extensive cleanup and the covering of 24 acres with 19,360 cubic yards of dirt over formerly fuel-contaminated soil, it’s subject to the Voluntary Remediation Action Program’s oversight.

“Because the city has to do work to regrade the site and reorient the stage site, Bangor Public Works crews will do the work and they’ve been trained to use protective gear until they’ve confirmed that there is no danger,” Pereira said.

“S.W. Cole will monitor the air quality of the site during the construction period to make sure we’re not disturbing the cap over the fill,” said Pereira. “These additional precautions with the personal protective suits will be used until the air quality can be qualitatively determined to be fine.”

Pereira said there was extensive ash accumulation at the railyard site because of coal burning. It was cleaned up in the late 1990s by the city and Maine Department of Environmental Protection after the city bought the land from Maine Central Railroad for $1 million.

The Waterfront Pavilion stage will be repositioned to face downtown Bangor in order to minimize the noise level directed toward Bangor residential areas off Main Street.

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