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Release Date: 10/08/1996
Contact Information: Liza Judge, Community Involvement, (617) 918-1067 Johanna Hunter, Community Involvement, (617) 918-1041 Larry Brill, Office of Site Remediation and Restoration, (617) 573-5721

NORWOOD, MA --- Standing in the entryway of the contaminated building slated for demolition at the Grant Gear/Norwood PCB site, senior U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials announced today that the agency has saved $56 million by revisiting and selecting six, less costly cleanup plans at New England Superfund Sites. Elliott Laws, EPA assistant administrator for Solid Waste and Emergency Response, and John P. DeVillars, regional administrator for EPA New England, joined local and state representatives in Norwood to describe the $47.5 million savings achieved at the Norwood site and the efforts underway to encourage redevelopment of this contaminated property.

"The savings we accomplished here at Norwood represents one of the best national examples of faster, less costly remedies. By working closely with the local community and responsible companies, and maintaining our commitment to protecting public health and the environment, we achieved a sensible solution that we hope will lead to beneficial economic redevelopment for the town of Norwood and its citizens," said Elliott Laws.

"EPA New England promised that we would apply common sense in our cleanup remedies and we have delivered just that today. This region is at the forefront nationally when it comes to updating remedies and saving taxpayer dollars - $56 million at Norwood and five other New England sites," stated John P. DeVillars. "Norwood and New England taxpayers also gain by having the prior owners and companies deemed responsible for this contamination step forward to help pay for the cleanup and promote urban revitalization of this property."

EPA revised the original soil remedy at Norwood based on new cost and design data. Norwood was initially targeted for cleanup using solvent extraction, an innovative technology. After careful review and cost considerations, EPA decided that, despite the agency's increasing support for the use of innovative alternative technologies, the expected cost merited a review of alternatives that would be as protective and would allow for commercial reuse of the site. EPA worked closely with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, responsible companies and the local community in determining this final cleanup. The final remedy selected are soil consolidation and capping at a cost of approximately $7 - $10 million.

Construction of a protective cap over the site and cleanup of Meadow Brook will be performed by responsible parties with their own funds. This will keep valuable EPA trust fund resources available to pursue cleanup work at other sites.

Demolition of the Grant Gear building at 921 Providence Highway started today is expected to be completed before the end of December. Initial work will focus on removal of asbestos from the building and cleanup of the interior of the building.

In addition, the U.S. Department of Justice and the State of Massachusetts recently reached two agreements with a value of more than $15 million with three companies to help clean up the PCB-laden Norwood site. In one of the settlements, two companies -- Federal Pacific Electric Company and Cornell Dubilier Electronics, Inc. -- agreed to undertake work with a value of about $10 million to help clean up the site. In the other agreement, Cooper Industries, Inc., agreed to pay the United States more than $5 million for past and future costs.

In addition to the cost savings at the Norwood site, EPA also announced remedy changes at these Superfund sites in New England:

Davis Liquid in Smithfield, RI: EPA and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management revised the original plan to destroy approximately 25,000 cubic yards of soil using high temperature incineration. The revised plan, which will save $4 to $5 million, will use a new technology, low temperature thermal desorption, to clean the site. This change still provides environmental and public health protections with the additional benefit of major cost savings for responsible companies from whom EPA is seeking cost recovery.

Coakley Landfill in North Hampton, NH: Based on new data indicating reduced landfill gas volumes, EPA allowed passive gas venting instead of flaring of gases which saves an estimated $650,000.

PSC Resources in Palmer, Mass.: Revised part of the original remedy from in-situ stabilization to ex-situ stabilization to consolidate wastes and change to an impermeable cap, a savings of an estimated $1 million.

Pinette's Salvage Yard in Washburn, Maine: Revised long term groundwater remedy in response to new monitoring data, saving an estimated $2 million in reduced cleanup costs. New data revealed the original source control remedy was more effective than anticipated, thus allowing natural attenuation to replace pump and treat technology.

Gilson Road in Nashua, NH: Turned off first groundwater pump-and-treat system in New England after achieving cleanup goals in the groundwater. Treatment cost savings estimated at $3.6 million. Groundwater will continue to be monitored.

EPA New England is continuing review of all remedy decisions to identify sites where new information indicates revisions may be appropriate.