EPA Updates Residents on Superfund Site
The EPA announced at the meeting that a new project manager would be taking over the site.
Officials from the Blackburn and Union Privileges Superfund site gave a presentation at the Walpole Library Monday night.
The South Street site was found to have soil, sediment and ground water contaminated with asbestos and other harmful chemicals. It is part of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Superfund program which engineers the cleanup of hazardous waste sites.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss project developments and present site updates to the town.
Project Manager David Lederer, from the EPA, was on hand to go through the current state of the cleanup. Rich Fisher, also from the EPA, who will be taking over as the new project manager in the near future, was also in attendance.
One of the developments discussed at the meeting was an inspection of the 400 ft culvert that carries and isolates the Neponset River through the contaminated site.
"When we came out here a lot of people were concerned about the stability and the long-term prospects of this culvert. So we've actually had the responsible parties hire engineers to go inside of the culvert, actually they've gone in two times now, to inspect the culvert, to inspect the rivets that are holding sections of it together," Lederer said.
During the inspection, which took place this month, the engineers confirmed that the hydraulic capacity of the culvert was sufficient and they identified repairs or maintenance that may be needed in the future. They also inspected the bottom of the culvert for built-up sediment and did an assessment for possible corrosion.
Other developments discussed included gathering soil, water and ground water samples of the area, mapping underground utilities in the area and estimating excavation limits for the soil.
Looking ahead to the future, Lederer brought up the need for a permanent ground water treatment facility on the site and mentioned the side of the former mill building on a patch of developable land as a proposed location.
Questions arose from those in attendance about the proposed location of the treatment facility and the impact it may have on future redevelopment projects.
"I would say it hasn't been selected, its been proposed. That's where it's proposed to be right now. We are already hearing the town at least wants to hear some other alternatives to that location," Lederer said. "We'll try to accommodate all the parties. Honestly, there's nothing in the court agreement that says the building can or can't be any particular place."
The question once again came up as to whether the mill building could be demolished without the town having to foot the bill.
Lederer said that the site does not currently fit the EPA's criteria for the building to be taken down, in regard to Superfund funding. Generally, he said, the contamination would have to be found on the outside of the building or in the soil underneath the building.
"We don't really have any of those situations," said Lederer.
Lederer said that the EPA and the town would continue to work together to find the best way to clear the site and the areas around it of the hazardous materials.