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EPA Adds Nuclear Metals, Inc. Site in Concord to Superfund List

Release Date: 06/14/2001
Contact Information: Andrew Spejewski, EPA Press Office (617-918-1014)

BOSTON -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today added the Nuclear Metals Inc. facility in Concord, Mass. (also known as the Starmet Corporation site) to the EPA's National Priorities List (known as the "Superfund list"). The National Priorities List is EPA's list of the country's most serious uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites identified for possible long-term cleanup. Adding a site to the Superfund List ensures that EPA will oversee and manage cleanup of the site, and makes federal funds available when private financing is unavailable.

"This should be good news for the Concord community," said Ira W. Leighton, acting regional administrator for EPA's New England office. "Making Starmet a Superfund site gives us the tools we need to work with the state and make sure we have a successful cleanup of the holding basin and the rest of the site."

"The placement of the Starmet facility on the Superfund list is a vital step towards the ultimate restoration of this site," said U.S. Senator John Kerry. "Hopefully, this designation will begin to alleviate some of the substantial concerns of the residents of Concord."

"The EPA's decision to add Starmet to the National Priorities List is a win for the environment. It's a decision that I fully support," stated U.S. Representative Martin Meehan. "Senators Kennedy and Kerry and I will continue to push to fully remediate this site."

EPA has notified the U.S. Army and Starmet Corporation that they may be financially responsible for the cleanup of contamination at the 2229 Main St. facility in Concord. Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (commonly referred to as the Superfund law), responsible parties may be liable for all cleanup costs, including site investigation, planning, and cleanup activities. EPA is reviewing documents submitted by several other companies and institutions to determine if other parties may also have a financial liability for cleanup of the property.

Nuclear Metals, Inc. which changed its name to the Starmet Corporation in 1997, took over the 46.5-acre site in 1972. The site has been used by Starmet and prior operators since 1958 to produce specialty metal products. Starmet manufactured penetrators, or bullets, for the U.S. Army using depleted uranium, with production ceasing in 1999. Until 1985, when waste disposal methods were changed, operators discharged wastes containing a variety of toxic metals into an unlined holding basin onsite.

The holding basin and groundwater at the site have been contaminated with depleted uranium, volatile organic compounds, and other toxic metals. A partial cleanup of the holding basin has already been performed under oversight by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. EPA is currently conducting a preliminary assessment/site investigation to determine if an immediate cleanup is needed in an area where buried drums are suspected. EPA is also planning further studies of the property to define the nature and extent of soil, air, surface water and groundwater contamination and to characterize the risk posed by the site. After reviewing the results of these and other studies, EPA will determine a long-term cleanup plan for the holding basin and the rest of the site.

Two other sites in New England were also added to the NPL today: the Sutton Brook Disposal Area (also known as Rocco's Landfill) in Tewksbury, Mass. and the Elizabeth Mine in South Strafford, Vt. Additionally, EPA proposed adding the Ely Copper Mine in Vershire, Vt. to the NPL.