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EPA Holds Public Hearing on New Bedford Harbor Cleanup

Release Date: 03/07/2002
Contact Information: Peyton Fleming, EPA Press Office (617-918-1008)

BOSTON - More than 50 area residents attended a 2 1/2-hour public hearing Wednesday night held by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on proposed changes to the PCB cleanup planned for New Bedford Harbor.

Public comments on the proposed changes will be accepted until March 26, after which EPA will make a final decision on the planned cleanup. The decision, expected in the next few months, will include a formal response to public comments.

The plan currently calls for the construction of four "combined disposal facilities" along the New Bedford shoreline that would ultimately contain about 500,000 cubic yards of sediment contaminated with PCB dredged from the bottom of the harbor. These facilities are designed to hold the sediment forever and minimize the chance that PCBs will get back into the harbor.

The new proposed plan calls for eliminating one of the four facilities – a 17-acre dewatering building to be built in the harbor's north terminal port area south of Routes 6 and I-195 – and taking the PCB-contaminated sediment to a licensed disposal facility outside the city.

The new proposal is based mainly on six factors:

    • constructing a disposal facility at the north port terminal poses difficult and costly engineering challenges;
    • in case of budget uncertainties, off-site disposal avoid the possibility that there will be a partially completed and unusable facility along a working waterfront;
    • only two acres of the harbor would need to be filled to support transportation for off-site disposal instead of 17 for the north port terminal facility;
    • buildings constructed for off-site disposal would be more easily reused once the project is complete;
    • off-site disposal is expected to be less expensive.
A public comment period on the changes started Feb. 26 and ends March 26. You can send public comments, which must be postmarked by March 26, to: Dave Dickerson, U.S. EPA Region I, 1 Congress St., Suite 1100, Mail Code HBO, Boston, MA 02114.

Email comments should be sent by March 26 to: