Contaminated Agricultural Property Remediation & Development

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Project Description

The developers of the Hamilton Marketplace faced several challenges in their effort to redevelop a 220 acre former agricultural and orchard tract into a major regional retail center anchored by multiple big box tenants and comprising some 1,000,000 square feet of retail, restaurant, and commercial space. Early in the due diligence process, Whitestone conducted preliminary geotechnical and environmental investigations that identified site development challenges including shallow mottling (typically interpreted by NJDEP as shallow groundwater), extremely moisture-sensitive soils (elastic silts), and environmental concerns including abandoned USTs, hazardous materials/wastes, and residual arsenic in the soils from former agricultural pesticide application.

Considering the magnitude of site earthwork and grading required, the reuse of site soils was critical since importing and exporting substantial volumes of material would be cost-prohibitive. In addition, in order to make site designs workable, grades had to be cut substantially lower than apparent groundwater levels. In the ensuing geotechnical investigation, Whitestone provided a detailed hydrogeologic analysis, including piezometer tests and groundwater level contouring, to prove to NJDEP and the municipality that a site concept including phased stormwater basin construction to drain regionally perched groundwater would function properly. In addition, specific recommendations including the use of geogrids and soil conditioning were developed in order to maximize soil reuse and minimize costly undercutting and replacement.

Whitestone also consulted with multiple retail corporate entities (proposed tenants) that had individual and often conflicting specifications that would preclude using the on-site materials in various locations. Through careful analysis of grading plans, phasing, and negotiation of performance standards as opposed to material standards, Whitestone aided the client in successfully reusing the majority of the on-site materials, while still satisfying individual tenant requirements.

Whitestone identified environmental concerns including residual arsenic in the soils and developed specific soil management and health and safety plans to mitigate the condition. Whitestone provided expert witness testimony and obtained the necessary NJDEP approvals for the client. Whitestone also provided air monitoring and environmental site controls as needed to comply with local and state requirements.

Whitestone provided full time construction phase consulting, testing and inspection with a resident engineer and supporting staff to ensure the design phase recommendations were properly implemented. In addition to geotechnical and materials testing, environmental oversight and health and safety air monitoring also were provided.