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Administrator Leavitt Announces Demolition Will Begin at Fairhaven, Mass. Site

Release Date: 05/21/04
Contact Information: Contact: David Deegan, EPA Press Office, (617) 918-1017

For Immediate Release: May 21, 2004; Release # 04-05-19

Boston – During a visit to Fairhaven, MA today, EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt announced funding to take down the contaminated buildings that are part of the Atlas Tack Superfund Site. The EPA estimates demolition costs to be $1.8 million.

“These dilapidated, contaminated buildings have been sitting at this site for decades,” said Administrator Leavitt. “I am happy to say that work will begin as soon as possible and could be completed before the end of this construction season.”

Demolition of the structures is the next major step in the cleanup of this site. EPA has already spent about $6 million at Atlas Tack for site studies and development of the long-term cleanup plan. Removal of hazardous asbestos from inside the dilapidated buildings on the site occurred in 2000. An $18 million cleanup plan was also issued in 2000 which outlined a detailed three-phase approach to the site, which called for building demolition, excavation and off-site disposal of contaminated soils and debris, and excavation and restoration of marsh soils and creek bed sediments.

EPA will continue to focus on cleanup efforts to ensure that human health is protected as it prioritizes Superfund activities. At sites where a responsible party can be identified, the Agency maintains aggressive enforcement efforts to ensure that the polluter pays. In more than 70 percent of Superfund site cleanups, the responsible parties pay for clean up activities. In 2003, EPA filed suit against Atlas Tack and its president, M. Leonard Lewis, seeking to recover the government’s past and future costs at this site. The trial is expected to begin in September of this year.
Massachusetts is contributing to this building demolition as part of the Superfund requirement that states provide 10 percent of the cleanup cost for federally-financed projects.

Founded in the early 1900s, Atlas Tack Corporation manufactured tacks, nails, shoe eyelets, and similar items at this site until the facility closed some 85 years later. Process wastes were disposed of on the ground and in adjacent wetlands, and were discharged into a lagoon on the property. High levels of heavy metals, cyanide, PCBs, pesticides, and other contaminants have been found in soils, creek sediment, buildings and ground and surface waters.

For more information on the Atlas Tack Superfund effort, visit EPA’s web site at: .

Related Information:
Atlas Tack Superfund Site