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Release Date: 12/08/1997
Contact Information: Leo Kay, Press Office, (617)918-4154

BOSTON -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services have approved testing of an innovative bioremediation technology for the Dover Municipal Landfill Superfund Site that, if successful, may be used as an alternative to capping the 55-acre landfill.

The city and the other responsible parties proposed the field test, which is scheduled to run for approximately two years. While the field test is taking place, the construction of the landfill cap will be delayed. Groundwater and surface water monitoring will continue at the site, however, as well as the cleanup and restoration of the ditch surrounding the landfill and the small stream that flows from the wetland to the Cocheco River.

"EPA is committed to pursuing innovative technical solutions that save communities money while fully protecting public health and the environment," said John P. DeVillars, administrator of the EPA's New England Office. "If we can successfully apply bioremediation to the Dover Landfill, the city saves several million dollars in cleanup costs and we will have helped advance a technology that is potentially cleaner, faster and cheaper than traditional methods."

"This technology could provide a way of cleaning up the site that would protect people's health while saving taxpayer dollars," said New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen. "I applaud the City of Dover, EPA and DES for working together toward this innovative solution."

"Once again, New Hampshire will be at the forefront of innovation in hazardous waste cleanup," said New Hampshire Senator Bob Smith, chairman of the Senate Superfund, Waste Control, and Risk Assessment Committee. "I have long advocated the use of new technologies, and am excited that Dover will be a pioneer in this cost-effective, innovative method of cleanup."

"The testing of this new technology at the Dover Landfill will allow local, state and federal officials to evaluate an alternative technique with the potential to save millions in tax dollars while safely and effectively cleaning hazardous waste sites," said Rep. John E. Sununu, who toured the site earlier this year. "I look forward to monitoring the progress of this new technology in the coming year and hope that the EPA will work to make field tests for such new technology easier to implement."

Commissioner Robert W. Varney of the NH Department of Environmental Services noted that, "The department strongly encourages innovative technology which may reduce cleanup costs while meeting environmental goals and objectives. The Dover Landfill bioremediation pilot is yet another instance where such flexibility encourages new and hopefully better ways to protect the environment."

The technology will use natural bacteria, aided by materials added to the groundwater to destroy contaminants flowing from the landfill. The materials that will be added are sodium benzoate, a common food additive, to provide a food source for the bacteria, and pure oxygen, to aid in respiration.

The field test, as outlined at a public meeting held in Dover Nov. 6, will run until at least the fall of 1999. If the field test is unsuccessful, the original remedy of capping the landfill will be performed.

The Department of Environmental Services will oversee the field test and the trench and stream cleanup.

The EPA issued its formal decision to cap the landfill and restore contaminated water to drinking water quality in 1991. The city of Dover and other responsible parties are responsible for implementing the cleanup.

Any questions on this technology or the site in general may be submitted to Darryl Luce, EPA Project Manager, EPA Region 1, (HBO), JFK Federal Building, Boston, MA 02203, Phone (617)573-5767.