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EPA Decides Contaminated Buildings at Concord, Mass. Superfund Site Should be Demolished

Release Date: 09/25/2008
Contact Information: Jeanethe Falvey, (617) 918-1020

(Boston, Mass. – September 25, 2008) – In order to prevent the release of depleted uranium and other hazardous substances from buildings at the Starmet/Nuclear Metals Superfund Site in Concord, Mass., EPA has determined that demolition of the buildings should occur. The Town of Concord, the “CREW” community group and the State support EPA’s decision to demolish the buildings.

As required under the Superfund law, EPA evaluated potential cleanup alternatives for the facility buildings, considering factors such as effectiveness, ability to be implemented and cost. This action will remove the threat that hazardous substances could be released into the environment, due to incremental deterioration, fire, building collapse or vandalism at the site. The demolition work is not yet scheduled, but EPA is working with the property owners and State officials to ensure that safety measures are in place to restrict access to the contaminated buildings.

Full demolition was chosen as the most effective remedy to prevent short and long term release of depleted uranium present in and on the buildings. Under a separate time-critical removal action EPA has been working to remove containers of flammable and hazardous substances from the facility buildings that present a risk of fire or explosion.

The EPA decision calls for all building contents to be removed, followed by the demolition and disposal of all buildings and debris. Concrete building slabs will remain in-place so as not to disturb potentially-contaminated underlying soil. Sumps and depressions in the slab will be filled and slabs will be entirely overlain with a short-term cap or sealed until a future EPA decision is made regarding the handling of underlying site soils. Demolition debris will be disposed of off-site at an appropriately licensed disposal facility. However, in the chance that some debris material is not contaminated, some of the debris may be disposed or reused on-site, either temporarily or permanently.

Last Spring, EPA sought public input on the cleanup alternatives during a formal public comment period. EPA will soon begin negotiations with the potentially responsible parties for the performance of the demolition and associated cleanup work. The estimated cost for this cleanup is $63.9 million. Depending on volume of material that needs to go to the highest priced facility for disposal, the cost may fluctuate. EPA will continue to work closely with the Town, community groups such as CREW and state officials as the project progresses.

During the demolition and removal, EPA will employ safety measures to protect public health, such as dust suppression, ambient air monitoring and restricted access to the site. Workers will be protected by engineering controls, personal protective equipment, air monitoring and compliance with a site-specific health and safety plan.

The Starmet/Nuclear Metals Inc. site, was added to the Superfund National Priority List in June 2001. While Starmet, the current owner of the Site, is licensed by the Mass. Dept. of Public Health’s Radiation Control Program to possess radioactive materials, it no longer manufactures products with radioactive materials. Starmet manufactured depleted uranium tipped munitions for the U.S. Army at the Site from the 1970s until 1999.

More information:
Nuclear Metals Cleanup (