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Sediment Sampling Results from Mohawk Tannery Site in Nashua, N.H. – EPA Plans Further Testing
Release Date: 10/19/2006
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017
(Nashua, N.H. – Oct. 19, 2006) – Results of sediment sampling performed within the Nashua River in the vicinity of the Mohawk Tannery cleanup Site in Nashua, N.H. showed elevated levels of chromium in one sample. EPA has outlined a plan for further evaluation of the sediment alongside the site of the former tannery as part of the ongoing investigations to determine nature and extent of any contamination.
In August 2006, EPA’s New England Office collected 13 sediment samples from four locations near the site including an upstream and downstream location and two locations adjacent to the Mohawk Tannery site. All sediment samples were analyzed for seven metals including chromium. Only chromium was found at an elevated level, in one sediment sample collected from just downstream and directly adjacent to the Mohawk Tannery site.
Chromium, a common chemical used in tannery operations, was found in soil samples collected on site during a comprehensive investigation of the soils and numerous sludge disposal areas located on the site.
Later this month, as part of the ongoing investigations of the groundwater at the site, EPA will collect a round of groundwater samples from all available on site monitoring wells. This is the third round of groundwater data collected from the site over the past several years. In early November, EPA will also take additional sediment samples from the Nashua River to confirm whether the chromium present in the sediment adjacent to the site is related to the former tannery operations and if it presents a risk to the bottom-dwelling animals in the river.
The current phase of EPA’s investigation is designed to verify the nature and extent of any existing groundwater contamination beneath the site and in sediments adjacent to the site, as well as to identify any significant impairment to the river which may have been caused by the former tannery.
The former tannery operated between 1924 and 1984. During its 60 years of operation, the Mohawk Tannery, also known as Granite State Leathers, produced sludge and acidic residues from the tanning process, much of which was disposed of on site. The site was proposed for the National Priorities List in May 2000.
EPA completed a time-critical removal action at the site in January 2001. As part of the cleanup, EPA posted warning signs and secured the fencing around the site to restrict public access. In addition, EPA removed 30 cubic yards of asbestos containing material, old drums and containers, bags from the former tannery building and liquid waste from an above ground storage tank located on the site as well as 53,000 gallons of contaminated waste from a clarifier tank on site.
In 2002 EPA released a cleanup plan after a comprehensive investigation of the site. The recommended cleanup plan was to involve excavating approximately 60,000 cubic yards of contaminated waste from six on-site disposal areas and transporting the wastes off-site for disposal in a permitted facility. Excavated areas were to be backfilled and re-vegetated. Since then, the Mohawk Tannery Steering Committee and the City of Nashua have been working to secure a private party to cleanup and redevelop the site.
More information on the Mohawk Tannery site (epa.gov/region1/superfund/sites/mohawk)
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