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BAY STATE GAS COMPLETES EXTENSIVE ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT
Release Date: 03/12/1997
Contact Information: Liza Judge, EPA Community Involvement, (617) 918-1067 Ronald J. Moreira, Bay State Gas, (508) 580-0100 x 1207
BOSTON -- Bay State Gas Company and the U.S. Environmental Protection (EPA) announced today that the company has completed an extensive assessment of environmental contamination at its former gas manufacturing plant at 600 West Water Street and a nearby property on Rogers Avenue at Eighth Street in Taunton, Mass.
The assessment was conducted in accordance with an EPA administrative order issued to Bay State Gas in November, 1994 to assess the nature and extent of contamination and to address any immediate hazards at the sites. The site investigation work, performed for Bay State Gas by ENSR Consulting and Engineering of Acton, Mass., included extensive sampling of soil, sediment, surface water and groundwater. From early 1995 through the summer of 1996, ENSR excavated 12 test pits, drilled more than 100 soil borings and checked water quality in 30 groundwater monitoring wells on the two properties.
John P. DeVillars, administrator of EPA's New England office stated, "Here's a great example of a company that is taking responsibility for its past environmental problems and is working very constructively with EPA and state officials . Importantly, Bay State also recognizes the importance of sharing information with their neighbors and local community."
In November 1996, as an interim action approved by EPA, Bay State Gas constructed a chain link fence around contamination on the Rogers Avenue property. This fence, and the existing fence around 600 West Water Street, protect residents and trespassers from contact with any waste material until final cleanup is completed. Bay State Gas will continue periodic inspections and groundwater monitoring throughout the cleanup process. The next phase of work, leading to completion of the site cleanup, will be conducted under an administrative consent order between Bay State Gas and the Masssachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MADEP).
Testing at 600 West Water Street found a variety of waste from former coal gas manufacturing -- wood fiber (used to filter the gas); tar and oil-like material, coal ash and clinkers (solid residue of burned coal). Fill material of sand, gravel, building debris and varying amounts of these waste materials are distributed throughout this property. Soil testing found moderate levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as benzene and toluene, near areas of oil and tar contamination. Also, moderate to high levels of polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were found in the central part of the property where several gas manufacturing structures were once located. Cyanide also was found in the surface soil in this area. Coal ash and clinkers containing low levels of lead were found in three isolated areas on the property.
The testing also found small pockets of oil floating on groundwater in one corner of the property. Although moderate levels of VOCs, such as benzene and toluene, were detected ten rounds of testing showed that the floating oil has stabilized and is not spreading.
At the Rogers Avenue property off Eighth Street, testing found the following:
Fill material of sand, gravel, building debris and lesser amounts of coal gas manufacturing wastes are located on a small peninsula of the property and in a portion of the ponded area. Moderate to high levels of PAHs and lower levels of cyanide and lead were found in the soil and pond sediment around the peninsula.
The results of the assessment detailing the types and extent of gas manufacturing waste are available in reports at the Taunton Public Library and the MADEP's Southeast Regional office in Lakeville, Mass. Throughout the entire process, Bay State Gas will provide current information on each phase of the assessment and cleanup to local officials, adjacent property owners and any interested parties.
Contamination on portions of the two properties stems from a gas manufacturing plant, owned by Taunton Gas Light Company, a predecessor company of Bay State Gas, which operated from about 1910 until the early 1960s. The plant converted coal and oil into manufactured gas used as fuel throughout the city and surrounding communities. During the half century that the plant operated on West Water Street, most manufacturing byproducts were sold and shipped off-site. Some residues from the manufacturing, and from a 1965 demolition of the facility, are still present.