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EPA Completes Cleanup at Fisherville Mill in Grafton, Mass.

Release Date: 03/01/2005
Contact Information:

Contact: Angela Bonarrigo, EPA Community Affairs Office, (617) 918-1034

For Immediate Release: March 1, 2005; Release # ab050301

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, working closely with the state and site owner, recently completed the third phase of cleanup at the Fisherville Mill site in Grafton, Mass.

EPA began in May 2002 to address trichloroethylene-contaminated ground water at the site, which posed a threat to the nearby Grafton public water supply. A ground water pump-and-treat system previously installed by DEP was destroyed during a fire at the site in 1999.

From that time until December 2004, EPA placed more than 100 wells in the source area of the TCE contamination and injected sodium permanganate, a chemical oxidant used to break down the TCE to inert compounds such as oxygen, water and inorganic salts.

Over the course of two and a half years, EPA conducted three similar injections of the chemical oxidant, permanganate, and monitored the ground water quarterly over a one-year period. In addition, EPA installed a temporary dam at one section of the Blackstone Canal to prevent the TCE plume from migrating off-site.

With EPA's work done, the site has been turned over to the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection and the owner, Fisherville Redevelopment Corporation, which will continue to monitor the ground water to confirm that the TCE levels do not "rebound" and increase again.

In August 1999, a multi-alarm fire at Fisherville Mill destroyed the 19th Century facility, including 330,000 square feet of building space and a ground water pump-and-treat system that had been used to treat contaminated ground water under the mill. The ground water was contaminated by petroleum and toxic chemicals that were released during manufacturing operations.

Immediately following the fire, EPA removed construction debris contaminated with asbestos that had been spread across Grafton and downwind 12 miles into 5 additional towns. After more than a century of use, the site itself was contaminated with petroleum, chlorinated volatile organic compounds, asbestos and heavy metals. As part of a second action at the site, EPA addressed asbestos contaminated construction debris in the foundation of the building.

Between 1882 and 1986, Fisherville Mill manufactured a variety of products, including textiles, machine parts, stamps and lawn furniture. The Fisherville Redevelopment Corporation bought the property in July 2004 and plans to finish the cleanup of the property and restore it for potential residential and business uses.

The Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor and the American Heritage Rivers Initiative sponsored a charette in 2004 with the South Grafton community that identified future use options for the Fisherville Mill site as well as for the adjacent Fisherville Pond. The Fisherville Redevelopment Corp. has already offered to improve the site conditions and develop preliminary plans for river access and initial restoration work on the property.

Fisherville Mill Site:

Related Information:
Cleanup in New England
Ground Water