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EPA To Begin Cleanup Site in Whitman, MA

Release Date: 03/15/2006
Contact Information: Sheryl Rosner, (617) 918-1865

(Boston, Mass. - Mar. 15, 2006) - EPA will begin work this week on a $240,000 cleanup at the Whitman Cistern Site at 401 South Avenue in Whitman, MA. The approximate 19-acre property was the location of a series of shoe manufacturing facilities until the early 1960’s and later used to house several small businesses. The buildings were razed in 1973.

During previous investigations in 2005, EPA and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) determined that soil at the site is contaminated with mercury and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Samples of sludge from a partially buried cistern located on the site also revealed elevated levels of mercury. In addition to collecting soil and sludge samples from the site, EPA also installed a fence to restrict access to the property.

As part of the cleanup, EPA will: repair or install additional fencing and warning signs around the perimeter of the site, conduct additional soil sampling to identify the limits of the contamination and develop a plan for excavating contaminated soil later this spring, sample any underground storage tanks to determine if any potentially hazardous materials will need to be removed, excavate contaminated surface soils and transport them off site for disposal at a permitted facility, and cap any contaminated soils which may remain at depth or cannot otherwise be excavated and decommission an on-site cistern which had formerly been used for water collection. After the contaminated soils are excavated, the area will be backfilled, graded and restored.

Dust suppression measures will be taken during the soil removal activities to ensure that the cleanup activities do not impact the air quality of residents or pedestrians in the vicinity of the work area.

The work is expected to be completed by the fall. Additional information on the project is available at

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