Contact Us


All News Releases By Date



Release Date: 03/13/2000
Contact Information: Alice Kaufman, EPA Community Affairs Office, 617-918-1064

BOSTON -The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today issued a four year, $19 million cleanup plan for the Atlas Tack Superfund Site in Fairhaven, MA. The cleanup plan calls for off-site disposal of contaminated materials, removing the sources of contamination, monitoring the groundwater, and establishing restrictions on certain activities through institutional controls. The power plant, metal building, and rear section of the main building will be demolished to make room for the cleanup activities.

"I have been working hard on this site for sometime, and I am pleased we're making progress," said Congressman Barney Frank. "This is an example why I support an adequately funded government to take care of such projects that require money. My staff and I will now be working with local officials and Fairhaven citizens to ensure the implementation of this cleanup plan."

"EPA stabilized conditions at Atlas Tack that posed an imminent risk to the community by removing asbestos-containing materials, now we have developed a cleanup plan for the entire site which is protective of human health and the environment," said Mindy S. Lubber, EPA New England Acting Regional Administrator. "We will hold a public meeting in early April to ensure community involvement in this cleanup and to answer questions about the cleanup plan."

"The Department of Environmental Protection supports the cleanup plans for Atlas Tack, and, we are pleased that the initial community concerns were accommodated by EPA," said DEP Commissioner Lauren A. Liss. "This plan will rehabilitate the decades-old brownfields site so that it can be redeveloped and put into productive use while restoring damaged ecological areas along Buzzards Bay."

The key elements of the cleanup are:

    • Excavation of approximately 54,000 cubic yards of soils and sediments contaminated above cleanup levels with heavy metals, cyanide, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), or pesticides;
    • On-site treatment of an estimated 6,000 cubic yards of material which will allow them to be disposed off-site as non-hazardous waste and reduce disposal costs. Treatment methods will be determined by treatability studies;
    • Significant reduction of groundwater contamination by removing the sources of contamination and further reduction by natural attenuation and phytoremediation (planting trees to lower the groundwater and limit its flow through remaining residual contamination);
    • Long-term monitoring of soils, sediments, groundwater, and vegetation to ensure the effectiveness of the cleanup plan;
    • Establishment of institutional controls placing land use restrictions on the property;
    • Environmental reviews conducted every five years until no contaminants, hazardous substances, or pollutants remain above levels that allow for unrestricted use and unlimited exposure.
The Atlas Tack Superfund Site is located at 83 Pleasant Street in Fairhaven. It comprises approximately 22 acres with four buildings, two of which are sections of the partially demolished original building. The Atlas Tack facility was built in 1901 and operated as a manufacturer of tacks, steel nails, rivets, and bolts until 1985. The facility's operation included electroplating, acid-washing, enameling, and painting. From the early 1940's to the 1970's, process wastes containing acids, heavy metals such as copper and zinc, and solvents were discharged into drains in the floor of the main building. It is believed that wastewater from these operations was discharged to an on-site lagoon from approximately 1940 through 1973. As a result of these practices, many of these chemicals have permeated into the soil and groundwater.