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Demolition Work Set to Begin at New Hampshire Plating Superfund Site

Release Date: 01/06/2005
Contact Information:

Contact: David Deegan, 617-918-1017

For Immediate Release: January 6, 2005; Press Release #dd050101

BOSTON – This week demolition activities will be underway at the 13-acre New Hampshire Plating Company Superfund site, located in Merrimack, NH.
During coming weeks, EPA contractors will use hydraulic hammers to demolish a 13,600 ton concrete storage cell, created during an earlier phase of the work at the site. The concrete will be broken into gravel-sized pieces and stockpiled on site, to be used later in the project during construction of a permeable cap over the site.

“EPA is committed to returning this site to a safe and environmentally sound condition,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “Demolition of the storage cell moves us one step closer to returning this property to the town of Merrimack, cleaned and ready for reuse.”

Last August, EPA, the New Hampshire Congressional delegation and the N.H. Department of Environmental Services announced $4 million of new funding for the site which is being used to clear the site and build access roads and staging areas in anticipation of additional construction work next spring.

In addition to the demolition activities, EPA will be undertaking several other steps. These include clearing approximately seven acres of brush, trees, and overgrowth from the site so that construction vehicles can access the property; relocating portions of the existing chain-link fence along the western perimeter of the site so that it follows the property line; permanently removing a second chain link fence so that vehicles can access the construction area; and, setting up staging areas for upcoming construction activities.

Once the concrete storage cell has been broken down into gravel-size pieces, EPA will sample the underlying soil to determine if contamination is present in this area of the site. In the Spring, any contaminated soils will be excavated and treated; then excavated areas will be backfilled, regraded and replanted with grass. Once the work is complete, the property will be available for public use.

In 2001, EPA awarded a grant of $99,000 to develop a reuse plan for the site. The draft reuse plan that the town’s landscape architect developed calls for recreational use of the site.
The 13-acre New Hampshire Plating Superfund site operated as an electroplating facility from 1962 to 1985. Wastewater containing metals, solvents and cyanide used in the electroplating operations was discharged into drainage channels in the former building floor, and flowed into unlined lagoons (former wetlands) north of the building. Contaminants from the unlined lagoons impacted on-site wetlands, contaminated surface and subsurface soils, and reached the groundwater.

To date, EPA has spent a total of about $8.5 million at the site to conduct interim cleanup measures, perform comprehensive site investigations and complete remedial design efforts. In addition, as compensation for the loss of wetlands at the site, EPA and NHDES have provided over $1.6 million for the purchase and protection of the 50-acre Greens Pond wetland area in Merrimack and the 38-acre Grassy Pond wetland area in Litchfield, N.H.

Between 1989 and 1994, EPA stabilized contaminated soils and sludge in an on-site storage cell, removed additional soil for off-site disposal, and demolished a former electroplating building (including the foundation, floor slab and underground storage tanks). The site was added to EPA's National Priorities List, commonly known as the Superfund list, in 1992.

Related Information:
New Hamphsire Plating Fact Sheet
Superfund in New England