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EPA Begins Clean Up at the Parker Street Waste Site in New Bedford, Mass.

Release Date: 11/17/2010
Contact Information: Jim Murphy, (617) 918-1028

(Boston, Mass. – Nov. 17, 2010) – Last week, EPA began site mobilization for a soil removal action at the Parker Street Waste Site in New Bedford. The work to remove contaminated soil from several residential properties is expected to continue through December.

Work began at the site last week to prepare EPA’s command post and equipment staging areas and to meet with homeowners to discuss property specific plans. Preliminary tree and brush clearing activities have begun as well.

General work hours for clearing areas for soil removal, removing contaminated soil, and replacing it with clean soil will occur on Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

During the excavation activities, work crews handling the contaminated soil will be dressed in protective clothing as a routine precautionary measure, including white tyvek coveralls and hard hats. Throughout the clean up, EPA staff and contractors will take measures to ensure that conditions are not harmful for people in the surrounding area, such as conducting area air monitoring and taking precautions to limit dust. Furthermore, to minimize its impacts to local traffic during the peak periods in which school buses are transporting students, EPA will reduce its response related traffic during those time periods.

Late last year, in response to concerns from the community over the scope and pace of environmental assessment and cleanup activities, EPA and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) developed a sampling and analysis plan to confirm the perimeter of the site boundaries and evaluate potential soil contamination.   In developing this plan, EPA and MassDEP sought input from the community and the City of New Bedford. 

EPA and MassDEP completed the initial phase of the site assessment on 47 properties this past summer. Five properties were identified with higher levels of contamination at or near the surface which exceed Massachusetts environmental standards for residential properties.  These properties are being addressed during this construction season. EPA will plan and implement clean up activities next spring on additional properties with contamination identified in the top three feet of soil.

A team of representatives from EPA, MassDEP, the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Bureau of Environmental Health (MDPH/BEH) presented the sampling results to individual property owners and residents in home visits and availability sessions in September and October. The government representatives attended each meeting to explain the analytical results, discuss any health concerns of the residents, and talk with property owners about the next steps necessary to address contamination at individual parcels.

EPA and MassDEP completed a second round of soil samples in October. The second phase of sampling included 24 additional properties along the southern and southeastern perimeters of the Parker Street Waste Site.

A Parker Street Waste Site Community Update regarding site activities was recently distributed to owners and tenants at all properties within the Parker Street area as well as to the Keith Middle School, New Bedford High School, Boys and Girls Club, and the town library. EPA and MassDEP plan to hold a public meeting in mid-December to review the soil sampling results and EPA’s ongoing cleanup actions and to answer any questions or concerns of community members.

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