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New Influx of Funding for Fairhaven Mass. Atlas Tack Superfund Site Will Spur Cleanup

Release Date: 04/18/2006
Contact Information: Nancy Grantham, EPA Office of Public Affairs, (617) 918-1010

(Boston, Mass. - Apr. 19, 2006) – More than $8.3 million of new funding will be available to assist the cleanup efforts at the Atlas Tack Superfund site in Fairhaven, Mass.

EPA recently committed an additional $3 million towards Phase II of the Atlas Tack cleanup effort, which builds on a $3 million funding allocation in late 2005. The total cost of this phase is about $14 million.

Under the terms of an April 4 consent decree, M. Leonard Lewis and Atlas Tack Corp. will pay $2,335,000 in installments over a two year period. Further, Atlas Tack has agreed to sell the property and pay the United States 95 percent of the net proceeds of the sale, or alternatively retain ownership and pay the U.S. 95 percent of its fair market value. The Town of Fairhaven has agreed to pay unpaid real estate taxes it collects with respect to the property that are in excess of $80,000 and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have agreed to pay $50,000 to the Superfund. All of this money will be used for the Atlas Tack cleanup.

“With this infusion of new cleanup money, I am hopeful that the efforts to address contamination at the Atlas Tack site will kick into high gear,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England Office. “We look forward to helping the Fairhaven community at this site.”

The first of three cleanup phases for the site is nearing completion, at a cost of approximately $2.3 million. The work included demolition of specific buildings and excavation and off-site disposal of contaminated soil and sludge in the Commercial Area of the site, The second phase is ready to begin. Expected to take nine months, Phase II involves the removal of contaminated soil in the Solid Waste and Disposal Area, which will be trucked to appropriate off-site facilities. Once excavation is complete, clean soil and vegetation will be used to restore the site. A portion of this area will be converted back to wetland marsh, it’s original state prior to disposal activities.

EPA New England received $3 million for Phase II work from EPA headquarters, to which it has recently matched, for a total of $6 million in funding. The additional $8 million needed to complete this phase has been requested for the fall 2006 and winter 2007 work. Phase III includes the cleanup of a portion of Boys Creek Marsh and Creek which is scheduled to begin after completion of Phase II.

"This is a positive sign that work at this site will continue to move forward and will bring the property back to productive use in the near future" said Jeff Osuch, the Town of Fairhaven Executive Secretary.

Nationally, 70 percent of cleanup costs at Superfund sites are paid for by responsible parties.

Atlas Tack was placed on the Superfund National Priorities List in 1990 and the remedial investigation/feasibility study was completed in 1998. The cleanup plan was finalized in 2000. To reduce a potential public health risk, EPA in 2000 removed hazardous asbestos from dilapidated portions of the Atlas Tack facility buildings.

The Atlas Tack Superfund site is located at 83 Pleasant St., an area zoned residential and commercial. The Atlas Tack facility was built in 1901 and operated as a manufacturer of cut and wire tacks, steel nails and similar items until 1985.

Wastes containing cyanide and heavy metals were discharged into an unlined acid neutralizing lagoon located approximately 200 feet east of the manufacturing building and adjacent to a saltwater tidal marsh in Buzzards Bay Estuary. Process wastes containing acids, metals such as copper and nickel and solvents were discharged into drains in the floor of the main building. Some of these chemicals have permeated the floors and timbers of the building and have migrated to adjacent soils and groundwater.

EPA New England submits the Atlas Tack site for consideration annually, but does not control the ultimate funding decisions.

For additional information, visit EPA’s website:

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