A large yellow excavator, which was manipulated by a heavy-equipment operator wearing snow-white coveralls, carefully plucked metallic material from a looming pile of aluminum dross for placement in a heavy dump truck.
That truck would cart away the industrial waste from the site of the abandoned Charles Batchelder Company on Swamp Road in Botsford.
The industrial waste would be transported to an out-of-state landfill for proper disposal as part of an ongoing federally funded environmental cleanup project at the 30-acre 46-A Swamp Road site, which functioned as an aluminum smelting plant until 1987.
The overgrown property contains extensive industrial ruins and waste piles.
The Batchelder site holds a variety of environmental problems caused by past industrial activity and resulting contamination. Such properties are known as “brownfields.”
On December 7, those monitoring the cleanup project estimated that approximately 2,200 cubic yards of the 20,000 cubic yards to be removed from the site had been taken away, so far. Work at the site began the second week in November.
The cleanup project includes the removal of aluminum-smelter waste that is piled on the ground.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is monitoring the work of environmental cleanup contractors there.
Rob Sibley, town deputy director of planning and land use, is the town’s liaison for the project.
Due to the multiple hazards posed by the site, including piles of debris, industrial waste, buildings in disrepair, open pits, broken glass, and old machinery, the town urges that people obey the “No Trespassing” signs that are posted on the fence that encircles the property.
“Contamination at the site does not pose any health concerns to nearby residents, provided people stay off the site,” according to a statement from the town.
Over the years, town police have repeatedly responded to the site to remove trespassers from the property.
The cleanup project is intended to provide the basis for the eventual reuse of the property.