It’s a change order for peat’s sake

Peat moss has added a little extra cost to Chilmark's fire station and ambulance facility project. — Rich Saltzberg

Chilmark’s select board learned Tuesday night that construction on the town’s new fire station hit a snag recently. Chilmark select board member Bill Rossi, the board’s liaison for the $13.9 million construction project, which includes an ambulance facility, said excavation for footings and foundations is finished. 

“However, during the excavation process, organic materials were uncovered which needed to be removed in order to achieve the proper soil-bearing capacity,” Rossi said. He added that “structural fill,” i.e. “processed gravel,” needed to be laid down to replace the organic material. He described the organic material unearthed as “peat moss.”

“Unfortunately this is an unseen condition, and will require change-order costs,” Rossi said. He noted the extra costs aren’t finalized yet, but estimated they were in the “100k-plus range.”

Nonetheless, he said, the construction schedule remains on track. 

Reached Wednesday, Rossi said the project continues to adhere to “very strict municipal building standards,” and contractors are pouring foundations presently.

“I’m very confident we’re going to end up with a quality product for both buildings,” he said.

Rossi said he anticipated completion for the fire station in April and the ambulance facility in June.


  1. “a quality product” for 14 million…let’s hope so.
    We have to keep this project on budget (which is already very generous) and not let this become an embarrassing runaway train.

  2. Peat moss or sphagnum is an important an important absorber of CO2.. better than trees and cheaper than proposal for direct industrial drawdown of CO2. Who will pay and who will forgo the equivalent emissions from cars, trucks, boats, homes and businesses if the peat moss isn’t preserved or enhanced?

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