Targus was retained to perform an environmental site assessment (Phase I ESA and additional non-ASTM services) of a historical hotel property located just off Liberty Square in Boston, Massachusetts. The subject property was improved with one 14-story, 95,000 square foot hotel constructed as an office building in 1893, converted to a hotel in 2009. The subject property was located in an area characterized by multistory office buildings with ground floor retail and restaurants, hotels, and condominia.
The principal environmental issue was the presence of petroleum in and potentially around an underground vault that was located at the property boundary and had been previously used for storage of heating oil. According to files received from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MDEP), although the tank and affected soil were removed from the interior of the vault, the vault structure itself could not be removed absent risk to the building foundation. Similar access restrictions due to an abutting subway tunnel and shallow water prevented assessment beneath and outside of the vault.
This 5,000-gallon tank was listed on the Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) and Release databases based on petroleum content of the soil removed from the vault interior. The documented concentrations of petroleum constituents in the vault backfill soil exceeded Method 1 S-1 standards (applicable to residential settings) but did not exceed the Method S-3 standards (commercial/ industrial settings) applicable to the subject property. Based on the concentrations in the soil removed from within the vault, together with inaccessibility of soil surrounding the vault, it was considered Not a Significant Risk under the Massachusetts Contingency Plan (MCP) and an Activity and Use Limitation (AUL) was not required for site closure. Thus, a Class A-2 Response Action Outcome (RAO) was submitted to the MDEP and was documented in the online database with a date of July 29, 2006.
In light of the Class A-2 RAO with concurrence from the MDEP that additional characterization of the former UST release was infeasible, and in consideration of demonstrated vault integrity and dewatering activities associated with the adjoining subway line that would likely capture residual contamination in groundwater beneath the site (if present), Targus did not consider the former release to be a recognized environmental condition. This assessment outcome was determined to be sufficient to close on the acquisition without further action.