Brick by brick
Cranes raze NARC building

By Thomas Wilson
The rayon manufacturing plant that has stood since the Coolidge administration is being razed brick by brick as construction crews make way for a Wal-Mart Supercenter store.
"It's going down," said Robin Rada, site manager for Hudson Construction Co. on the Elizabethton Wal-Mart project. "We're planning on putting footers in around March the first."
Despite a harsh winter, Rada said construction crews are on schedule with the demolition. Tons of brick, wood and concrete felled during the past three weeks are finding new life as fill material for the property. Building debris is being crushed and recycled for use as base material or structural backfill around the site.
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation's Division of Solid Waste Management accepted a 25-acre portion of the NARC property into the federal Brownfields Program to facilitate redevelopment of the site by Wal-Mart.
Building debris that cannot be salvaged is being disposed of on-site in a construction and demolition landfill. The onsite landfill is expected to be less than one acre in size and will be capped with concrete.
Excavated soil not suitable for backfill must be capped with asphalt or concrete to eliminate future exposure. Excess impacted soil disposed of offsite requires TDEC approval. During TDEC's site assessment, workers installed several test pits for the construction landfill on site.
The agreement said demolition debris will be placed in trenches, crawl spaces and former basement areas around the site.
Rada said the recycled material might not be enough to fill the empty basements crews have encountered during the demolition. "We've already hauled in shale to fill it out," he said.
The Brownfields Agreement lists a series of environmental conditions at the site including,
* The presence of asbestos and lead-based paint.
* Demolition debris and 55-gallon drums associated with the research facility in the former cafeteria building.
* The presence of electric transformers and a substation with "di-electric oil of undocumented PCB content."
Asbestos materials removed from the building are being bagged and monitored by TDEC, Rada said. Wal-Mart remains "potentially responsible" for any release of hazardous substances or pollutants that occur at the site while the company owns the property.
The agreement includes a land use restriction deed that stipulates the company will restrict the site to commercial or industrial usage.
The term "Brownfields Site" pertains to the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of real property that may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous pollutant or contaminant. The Brownfields Program was created by the "Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act", which was signed into law Jan. 11, 2002.
The NARC facility is identified as a Superfund site and is deferred under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act as a generator of hazardous waste by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA removed the NARC facility from Superfund status in February of 2000 following clean-up action at the site.
The Brownfields Agreement between Wal-Mart and DSWM includes liability protections for Wal-Mart and related parties. The agreement limits the liability Wal-Mart could face on past industrial practices at the site and holds the company responsible for any contamination that may be identified in the construction phase of the development.
Construction of the NARC building began in September 1927 and was completed just over one year later. North American's existing operation was expected to move to the company's facility at the Tri-County Industrial Park in Bluff City.
Hudson began demolition of the NARC building in late December. Once the NARC building is down, Hudson's crews will begin constructing the super center store. "I'm going to turn it over to Wal-Mart in September," said Rada. It usually takes six weeks to stock a new store, he added.
Hudson is presently completing two supercenters and one neighborhood market Wal-Mart in Nashville, and three other supercenter buildings at sites in Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky, according to the company's Web site. A new Wal-Mart store's ability to open prioritizes the company's schedule.
"We get our completion date before we get our start date," Rada said.