GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc. (GZA) was retained by the Planning Office for Urban Affairs, Inc. (POUA), a non-profit affordable and mixed income housing developer, to perform environmental, building, and construction services for the Harbor Place project, a transformative redevelopment project on the Merrimack River.  The 1.5 acre waterfront project consists of six contiguous parcels of land viewed as the “eastern gateway” to downtown Haverhill, Massachusetts. Hazardous building materials and contaminated soils were known possible risks on the property.


GZA’s initial work included Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) at each of the properties as part of pre-acquisition environmental due diligence, which was followed by a limited Phase II ESA designed to further evaluate potential Recognized Environmental Conditions identified as part of the Phase I ESA.

Prior to phased demolition, building services provided by GZA included the completion of asbestos surveys and hazardous building materials assessments to develop detailed inventories of asbestos containing materials and hazardous materials associated with each of the buildings.  The hazardous materials assessments included characterization of demolition waste streams, identification of Universal Wastes, polychlorinated bi-phenyl-containing building materials and components, petroleum-containing components, and miscellaneous chemicals including, electrical system components, batteries, thermostats, lamps, and ballasts. GZA then provided on-site monitoring services throughout the duration of asbestos and hazardous material abatement activities. 

As part of the building demolition phase of the project GZA developed a vibration monitoring plan for review and approval by ACOE and performed vibration monitoring during demolition and pile installation.  GZA also provided on-site asbestos abatement 

monitoring services during building demolition to assist in the abatement of ACM and hazardous materials that could not be abated prior to demolition.

Environmental services included investigation and pre-characterization of soil quality and development of a Soil Management Plan to manage the reuse and/or off-site disposal of urban fill and soils at the Site.  GZA provided third-party project monitoring services for Soil Management Plan implementation.  GZA also provided asbestos abatement technical services and third-party project monitoring services associated with the abatement of buried asbestos cement pipe and asbestos-impacted soil encountered during excavations for building foundations at the Site.  As part of our work, GZA reviewed certain contractor submittals, coordinated monitoring activities, performed clearance and compliance testing and final visual inspections.  

GZA was responsible for Massachusetts Contingency Plan Licensed Site Professional services associated with soil management, export and disposal, overall project reporting and project closure documentation in support of securing a Brownfields Loan from MassDevelopment.


The Harbor Place Building offers 80 units of affordable housing to the area, provides vital community and education space, and replaces derelict and neglected buildings with a scenic and accessible waterfront in Haverhill.  GZA efforts provided critical support to assist the Planning Office for Urban Affairs in achieving its project goals and secure funding to remediate the site.

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