Cleaning of Bannister Federal Complex Progressing
by John Sharp
Although not visible from the street, cleanup of interior contamination of buildings at the former Bannister Federal Complex is nearing completion, according to Kevin Breslin, a principal owner of Bannister Transformation & Development, the private firm that now owns the property.
Breslin said the removal of remaining beryllium dust in all the buildings on the 225-acre site will be completed before July 4. He said 95 percent of all material containing asbestos in the buildings has been removed and safely disposed of. He said the rest of the asbestos cleanup will be done by mid-July.
Much of the complex was used to manufacture non-nuclear components of nuclear weapons for the National Nuclear Security Administration, and the interior of manufacturing areas is contaminated with beryllium in addition to the asbestos and lead-based paint common throughout the facility.
Buildings are not being demolished until all hazardous materials are removed and they are completely decontaminated, Breslin said. He explained that over 450,000 square feet of the approximately 4.3 million square feet of structures to be demolished have been razed including three relatively small buildings on the west end of the site.
Breslin said his firm has completed $40 million worth of demolition and environmental cleanup at the site since it took control of the property in late 2017, and union trades people and laborers have worked over 160,000 hours on the project.
Breslin has said repeatedly that all demolition should be completed in a little less than two years.
After that, he has said contaminated soil will be excavated and transported via rail to landfills licensed to accept such material, and contaminated storm sewers will be filled and capped. Soil and groundwater are contaminated by fuel, PCBs and solvents dating back to when the site was used to manufacture aircraft engines during World War II.
Uncontaminated soil will be brought in to replace the excavated soil and to raise the site as much as ten feet in places to take it out of the flood plain.
Following all that work, Breslin has said the site should be ready for redevelopment in about four years from when remediation started.
BT&D plans to redevelop most of the site as an industrial park with warehouse/distribution and light manufacturing facilities that will employ at least 1,000 people, but also plans to include a much smaller amount of commercial and retail uses on the east side of Troost outside the flood wall.
[Published in the June 26 issue.]