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EPA Announces $4 Million of Funding for Cleanup at NH Plating Superfund Site

Release Date: 08/19/04
Contact Information:

Contact: Peyton Fleming, EPA Press Office (617-918-1008)

For Immediate Release: August 19, 2004, Release # 04-08-11

MERRIMACK, NH – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the New Hampshire Congressional delegation and the NH Department of Environmental Services today announced $4 million of new funding to begin the next stage of cleanup work at the New Hampshire Plating Company Superfund site in Merrimack, NH.

“This $4 million will help enormously so that we can complete final engineering and construction plans at the 13-acre site and begin excavation and treatment of contaminated soil,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England Office. “We look forward to turning this parcel over to the town of Merrimack, cleaned and ready for reuse.”

“This is a great day for the people in Merrimack who for too long have had to live with the presence of this site which is almost literally in many of their backyards,” said Senator Judd Gregg. “With this announcement, Merrimack is one step closer to the day when this site will be seen as a positive resource for the community, instead of a black cloud hanging over it.”

“State, federal and local officials deserve thanks for their years of commitment toward returning the New Hampshire Plating Superfund site to a safe and environmentally sound condition,” said Senator John Sununu. “With these additional federal resources, final engineering plans and treatment of contaminated soil can move forward on this parcel of land.”

“I was extremely pleased to see that the EPA is providing $4 million to begin cleanup activities at the Superfund site in Merrimack,” added Congressman Jeb Bradley. “This money will be used to turn land that had once been written off as unusable into viable space for the Merrimack community to utilize.”

Town officials also heralded today’s announcement, which comes on the heels of the community receiving a $99,000 reuse grant from EPA in 2001. The reuse plan that the town’s landscape architect developed calls for recreational use of the site.

“Today is a special day for Merrimack. Our town is the recipient of this significant grant to initiate the cleanup of the NH Plating site and I must admit it feels like Christmas in August,” said Dick Hinch, chairman of the Merrimack Board of Selectmen. “This grant is the start of a long process to mitigate the contamination on this site. The end result of the cleanup will be a tremendous opportunity for our community to enjoy the vast potential of this land for its numerous advantages.”

The 13-acre New Hampshire Plating Superfund site operated as an electroplating facility from 1962 to 1985. Wastewater containing metals, solvents and cyanide used in the electroplating operations was discharged into drainage channels in the former building floor, and flowed into unlined lagoons (former wetlands) north of the building. Contaminants from the unlined lagoons impacted on-site wetlands, contaminated surface and subsurface soils, and reached the groundwater.

As part of the cleanup plan, finalized in 1998 and funded in part with today's $4 million announcement, contaminated soils on the site will be treated and consolidated on site so that they are no longer a source of contamination to the groundwater.

To date, EPA has spent a total of about $8.5 million at the site to conduct interim cleanup measures, perform comprehensive site investigations and complete remedial design efforts. In addition, as compensation for the loss of wetlands at the site, EPA and DES have provided over $1.6 million for the purchase and protection of the 50-acre Greens Pond wetland area in Merrimack and the 38-acre Grassy Pond wetland area in Litchfield, NH.

EPA stabilized contaminated soils and sludge in an on-site storage cell, removed additional soil for off-site disposal, and demolished a former electroplating building, including the foundation, floor slab and underground storage tanks between 1989 and 1994. The site was added to EPA's National Priorities List (NPL), commonly known as the Superfund list, in 1992.

Related Information:
NH Plating Fact Sheet
Long-Term Cleanups