The Southeast Federal Center/The Yards project in Washington, D.C. won two Phoenix Awards at the Brownfields 2015 conference in Chicago on Sept. 4. The project was recognized for its outstanding remediation plan and brownfield redevelopment.
The project, located about a mile from the U.S. Capitol Building, was named the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 3 winner for 2013 and also received the People’s Choice Award in the competition, which recognizes excellence in brownfield redevelopment.
WSP USA designed the remediation plan at the Southeast Federal Center (SEFC) and oversaw and certified completion of remediation in accordance with the EPA-approved remediation plan.
“The restoration of the SEFC site presented a host of technical challenges, requiring innovative approaches and solutions,” says David Sarr, practice leader at WSP. “We are thrilled to receive the People’s Choice Phoenix Award for this project and to be recognized for creating a successful outcome that will bring economic and social benefits for our nation’s capital for years to come.”
The SEFC was a 55-acre parcel located along the western shore of the Anacostia River. In recent years, economic growth in the region has created an opportunity to transform more than 2,000 acres along the river corridor into a modern urban community.
WSP designed a remediation plan for contaminated concrete, soil, and groundwater. Contaminants were present in concrete and soil in several areas of the property. Contaminated soil in each of these areas was removed to meet cleanup criteria. Groundwater was also affected by contaminants, which were addressed by monitored natural attenuation that gradually reduced the contaminant level.
Hazardous building materials present at the site included PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), asbestos and lead-based paint. One building material contained a unique combination of hazards — corrugated metal siding with a coating that contained asbestos, and further coated with paint that contained both lead and PCBs.
The environmental remediation conducted to date has facilitated the restoration of three separate historic buildings, construction of two new apartment buildings with retail space, and installation of new infrastructure.
It also led to the construction of The Yards, a waterfront destination and the new centerpiece of the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood, located just south of Capitol Hill and east of Nationals Ballpark. The Yards features open grassy areas and well-landscaped outdoor areas, a waterfall and canal-like water feature, an elevated overlook, a pedestrian bridge and light sculpture, terraced performance venue and a riverfront boardwalk.
“The Yards Park is designed to be a place where the community can be active, relax and just enjoy the outdoors,” Sarr says.
Phoenix Awards are presented at the Brownfields conference to environmental remediation projects that span the country, with one project designated as the People’s Choice for each award year. Winning projects are selected by a panel of environmental professionals and business and government leaders based on the magnitude of the problems and project, its use of innovative techniques, cooperative efforts of multiple parties to undertake the project, including financing solutions, positive impact on the environment and the project’s general and long-term impacts on the environment and community.