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EPA Review Finds Cleanup Successful; Recommends Followup Actions at Sullivan's Ledge Superfund Site in New Bedford, MA

Release Date: 10/01/2003
Contact Information: Alice Kaufman, EPA Community Involvement Office, 617-918-1064

Boston– Following a study of the effectiveness of the cleanup at the Sullivan's Ledge Superfund Site in New Bedford, Mass., the United States Environmental Protection Agency determined that although there is little risk to people or the environment from contaminants present on the site, additional activities would be necessary.

The cleanup of Sullivan's Ledge included capping contaminated soils and sediments on the 14- acre former quarry pits site, restoring wetlands on the New Bedford Municipal Golf Course, and the installation of a groundwater collection and treatment plant. While the agency believes that these measures are currently adequate, it recommends the following for long term safety:

    • Establish land use controls at the site
    • Continue to evaluate performance of the groundwater treatment system
    • Continue to monitor sediment concentrations downstream
    • Install and operate a full-scale landfill gas collection system
    • Continue to maintain the wetlands area by controlling invasive and nuisance species
The Sullivan's Ledge Superfund Site was a former quarry. Between the 1930s and the 1970s the quarry pits were used to dispose of industrial and solid wastes. Over the years, an unnamed stream carried contaminants, primarily polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), across Hathaway Road to the wetland areas of the municipal golf course. Also, high levels of groundwater contamination, primarily solvents and polycyclic-aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) had spread from the old quarry area.

The major part of the cleanup including the installation of a groundwater collection and treatment system, the excavation of contaminated soils and sediments, and their placement under a landfill cap on-site was completed between 1998 and 2001.

The groundwater collection system was installed to stop the spread of underground contamination from the old quarry. A groundwater treatment plant was built to treat the collected groundwater before discharging it to the municipal sewer system. The treatment plant began operating in late 1999 and has treated millions of gallons of contaminated groundwater.

Additionally, approximately seven acres of contaminated wetlands sediments from the golf course were removed, treated, and hauled for disposal under the cap constructed over the old quarry area. The wetlands that were disturbed during the cleanup have been replanted and will require continued maintenance to control invasive and nuisance species.

The construction work at the site was performed by private companies that EPA linked to past disposal of contaminants at the site. New Bedford's Department of Public Works is operating and maintaining the treatment plant and the landfill cap.

The review conducted by EPA for Sullivan's Ledge was the first in a series of "Five Year Reviews" that is required by the Superfund law for sites where waste has been capped or otherwise left in place. The next review is scheduled for 2008.

More information about cleanup activities at the site may be found on the EPA New England web site at: