Friday, February 24, 2006

Return to the Scene of the Crime

I've worked on several projects over the years in Salt Lake City. Like a serial killer I always return to the scene of the crime to relive those past experiences. Past project locations have a strange lure for me. I enjoy returning to see how things have changed over time and to walk the same ground I walked years before.

One of my first projects I worked on in Salt Lake was a couple of Phase I ESAs down around West 2100 South between Bangerter Hwy and I-215. This is an industrial area of concrete tilt-up business parks, warehouses, and factories. This is also near the former Remington Arms Company site, a small arms plant where 30- and 50-caliber ammunition was manufactured during World War II. Many of the old plant buildings are still present and in use for other purposes these days. The old alum ponds are also located nearby where Engelhard discharged wastewater from their catalyst manufacturing operations. Both the Remington Arms and Engelhard sites have known contamination.

I once did a quick one day in-and-out site visit of a vacant parcel in this West 2100 South industrial area. It was a wet day and all I had for protection was a rain jacket. I had to walk the site through wet grass and shrubs. My jeans and hiking boots were soaked by the time I finished walking the 20-acres. I didn't have a change of clothes and had to fly home in my wet clothes. It was a miserable flight back in wet jeans. This vacant parcel is now developed with three big concrete tilt-up industrial buildings.

One of the more fun projects was at the FAA Regional Air Traffic Control Center next to SLC. We pulled a waste oil underground storage tank and replaced it with an aboveground tank. The waste oil was from four huge diesel emergency power generators. I had hired a local subcontractor who was fortunately top-notch. The FAA had resident engineer to watch over us. His name was Cody out of Pocatello, Idaho. He was a real cracker. He looked at first like he was going to be a real asshole but at the end he turned out to be an OK guy. So I watched over the subcontractor and Cody watched over all of us. This turned out to be a nice little project.

I also did a Phase I ESA of the Triad Center, an office building complex at North Temple and South 300 West. The main tenant in the center is Bonneville International Corporation, a media company who owns a number of television and radio stations across the country, but mostly in Utah. Bonneville International Corporation is, I believe, owned by the LDS Church.

Back in December 2004 I did a Phase I of a facility that manufactures diamond core drill bits. It was interesting to see the manufacturing process. During that trip the whole of the Salt Lake Valley was covered in a thick layer of low clouds. It was cold and everything was covered in hoarfrost. I made a side trip out to Antelope Island and, except for the bitter cold, it was a beautiful area.

Whenever I'm in town again I'll swing by these old project sites, returning to the scene of the crime.

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