Old hospital cleanup

Marlo Pronovost
Thursday, August 23, 2018

Three environmental consulting companies toured the old hospital last Thursday to get a first-hand look at the job for which each is bidding to be hired.

The job: To complete a proposal with cost estimates for services for the remediation of hazardous materials in the old hospital, including asbestos-containing material, lead-based paint, polychlorinated biphenyls, mercury and mold discovered during a federally-funded Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownsfield study. To be exact, approximately 14,000 square feet of asbestos and other “contaminants of concern,” according to the Brownsfield report.

The grant amount for the clean up is $170,000.

The contaminants were found during a March 2017 assessment of the building by Weston Solutions, Inc., Super-fund Technical Assessment and Response Team (START) out of Colorado at the request of the Stillwater County Commissioners.

The assessment was sought as Commissioners Maureen Davey and Dennis Shupak began to move forward in remodeling the building for use of county offices.

At the conclusion of the old hospital tour last week, at least two of the companies asked Stillwater County Commissioner Mark Crago what the county planned to do with the building, as it impacted the type of work that would be done, as well as the final cost.

Crago said he was in favor of demolishing the building, while his two co-workers had repeatedly expressed their desires to renovate the building for county office space.

Commissioner-elect Tyrell Hamilton, who starts his term on Jan. 1, 2019, has publicly said he favors demolition of the old building.

At least one of the companies also inquired what the public input had been on the project.

Based on the questions asked and the answers provided by Crago, two of the companies recommended amending the RFP (request for proposal) to include costs for remediation for a remodel as well as remediation for the demolition of the building.

Crago and County Facilities Supervisor Jerry Bokma reviewed the tour and the questions asked Monday morning with Commissioners Davey and Shupak. All agreed to let the RFP stand as it is because the federal grant will pay for all remediation, regardless if the building is renovated or demolished, according to Crago.

Both Crago and Bokma also said at Monday’s meeting that all three companies noted that Weston’s report had not been all-inclusive and that more testing would need to be done.

“So why did we go for this grant if it’s incomplete?” said Davey.

Bokma started to answer, but was cut off.

“We got talked into applying for a grant because it’s going to take care of all the problems. And now….” said Davey.

Bokma then explained that Weston had tested for containments using federal standards because it was a federal agency that had hired it. Montana standards are even stricter, said Bokma and that additional testing will be part of the incoming bids for the project.

Bokma and Crago also said mold in the roof seemed to be the biggest issue of concern for the companies, and that it appeared that remediation of mold there cannot be done without removing the roof.

There are at least two more companies that plan to submit bids for the remediation job.