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Release Date: 09/11/1997
Contact Information: Rich Haworth, EPA On-Scene Coordinator, 617-573-5756 Erin Heskett, EPA Community Involvement, 617-918-1054

BOSTON -- Within three months, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has overseen the removal of 1147 tons of PCB-contaminated soil and several thousand small capacitors from five properties on Hathaway Street in Fairhaven, Mass.

GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc. performed the work for Cornell-Dubilier Electronics pursuant to a legally-enforceable consent order. The EPA closely monitored field work and soil sampling results to ensure that the cleanup was completed as planned. GZA shipped the contaminated soil from the site to a landfill in New York permitted to accept PCBs.

"Ordering a responsible party to remove PCB contaminated soils on Hathaway Street is a strong example of EPA New England's region-wide commitment to protect communities at risk" said EPA-New England Administrator John P. DeVillars. "Agency personnel monitored the cleanup routinely to make sure that federal cleanup standards were met with as little impact as possible to the Hathaway Street neighborhood."

To facilitate the excavation, GZA collected 20,000 gallons of groundwater and stored it in a large tank on site. Testing of the groundwater showed that contaminants did not exceed state standards and it was discharged back into the excavation.

The EPA took soil samples in addition to those collected by GZA, which resulted in the reexcavation and off-site disposal of a portion of the soil used as backfill, and additional disposal of soil in an area where a stockpile of heavily contaminated soil had been stored.

Heavy equipment damaged septic systems on two of the properties during the excavation. GZA repaired both septic systems, including the installation of a new tank at one home.

Initial testing of the properties indicated the presence of high concentrations of PCB in surface soils. Long-term exposure to high concentrations of PCBs may cause skin irritations, such as acne and rashes, and has been shown to cause liver, stomach, and thyroid damage, and cancers in animals. Based on laboratory testing of animals exposed to high doses of PCBs, the EPA has determined that PCBs are probable human carcinogens.

During inspections of the properties between March and June 1996, field analyses indicated the presence of PCBs in surface soils at concentrations as high as 390 ppm. The highest concentration found below grade was 660 ppm, at a depth of two feet.

In September 1996, the EPA dug a test pit in the yard of 67 Hathaway Street and discovered electrical components containing PCBs. Soil adhering to the degraded components contained over 10,000 ppm PCBs. Because the name of Cornell Dubilier Electronics (CDE) was visible on these components, the EPA compelled CDE to clean up the properties.

GZA restored the properties to conditions similar to those that existed prior to the excavation, planting and watering grass, shrubs and trees and replacing a concrete walkway on one of the properties.