LUCKEY — Three of the buildings, including the main one, at the former Brush Wellman company site are being torn down, according to an update provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Buffalo District.
The corps is in the midst of a $240 million cleanup of the former beryllium production facility. It is officially referred to as the Luckey Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program Site.
The district started the removal of the former production building and two smaller buildings from the site last week, according to an email update.
The buildings are being removed to provide safe access to sample and remediate soil underneath, which is contaminated with beryllium, radium-226, thorium-230, uranium-234, uranium-238, and lead.
The production building, which covers 1.5 acres of the site, was used to produce beryllium from 1949 to 1958 under a contract with the Atomic Energy Commission.
Since the Luckey site is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, the district has coordinated with the Ohio State Historic Preservation Office regarding the historic record, and will be recording the deconstruction of the building through time-lapse photography.
Unlike building demolition which most people are familiar with, building deconstruction involves a more methodical process of disassembling a building in smaller pieces. Building deconstruction greatly reduces the amount of dust generated and prevents the spread of airborne contamination.
Deconstruction of the former production building and disposal of the debris is expected to take approximately seven months.
The Corps of Engineers continues to actively monitor the evolving coronavirus situation and communicates regularly with site personnel and contractors to emphasize the importance of taking appropriate actions — such as social distancing, wearing appropriate protective equipment, temperature screening of individuals before entry into the site, and personal hygiene measures — to safeguard employee health and welfare while working during the pandemic.
Soil remediation will resume upon completion of the building removal operation. The entire site remediation is approximately 50% complete. The Phase 1 excavation area was completed in July and excavation in the Phase 2 area was completed during December. Backfill and restoration of the Phase 1 and 2 areas is being conducted as weather permits.
An infographic tracking cleanup progress weekly is posted at https://www.lrb.usace.army.mil/Missions/HTRW/FUSRAP/Luckey-Site/.
Those interested in receiving email updates on progress made at the Luckey site can email email@example.com.
The cleanup on the 40-acre site started in spring 2018 and is expected to be completed in 2029.
In 1942, a magnesium processing facility was built on the site, at the corner of Gilbert and Luckey roads, which at the time was government land. In 1949, a beryllium production facility was built on the site. Brush Wellman operated the site until 1957, but radioactive scrap metal stored at the site was never used for its intended purpose. The site was closed by 1960.
The cleanup project was initiated in 1974 with years of documentation and investigation.
In 2006, the Corps of Engineers signed a “record of decision” addressing the beryllium, lead, radium and uranium in the soils. Beryllium is highly toxic and is driving the cleanup.
In September 2016, the contractor began moving equipment and personnel to the site. In April 2018, the contractor completed setup activities; the first soil was transported from the site in July.
The building is owned privately by Industrial Properties Recovery.