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New Bedford PCB Clean-Up Plan Reviewed; Public Meeting Scheduled

Release Date: 06/14/2005
Contact Information:

Contact: Sheryl Rosner, EPA Office of Public Affairs, (617) 918-1865,

For Immediate Release: June 14, 2005; Release # sr050609

EPA has completed a rigorous review of New Bedford’s PCB clean-up plan for McCoy Field. Based on the specific technical components of the plan to clean the site, EPA has issued a draft approval of the city’s plan.

With the release of EPA’s draft approval of the McCoy Field PCB clean up strategy, the Agency is seeking public input on the plan’s technical merits and other information relevant to the site’s long-term monitoring and maintenance. A public informational meeting will be held on Wed. June 22 for community input.

EPA’s evaluation of the City of New Bedford’s plan to clean McCoy Field of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) is focused on ensuring an effective clean-up remedy for the site that will be protective of human health. EPA does not play a decision-making role in determining how the site should be used following clean-up work.

Public comments will be accepted for 30 days on the technical merits of the clean-up plan to identify if there is any additional technical information that has not previously been available for EPA’s assessment. EPA is committed to ensuring that our evaluation is engaged in an open and transparent manner, and that the clean up plan will adequately protect public health and the environment.

EPA is also soliciting comments regarding the site’s long-term monitoring and maintenance implementation plan, which will be considered in determining the final requirements for the site’s monitoring program. A communications plan will also be put in place to ensure that the community is informed of new developments.

The public informational meeting will take place at 7:00 p.m. on Wed. June 22 at the Keith Middle School Library, 70 Hathaway Blvd., New Bedford. Copies of EPA’s proposed approval and all relevant site documents are available for review at the New Bedford Free Public Library (613 Pleasant St., New Bedford).

New Bedford conducted a human health risk assessment of McCoy Field, with the desired end use being a school. In performing the assessment, it evaluated a number of activities that could result in exposure to students, visitors, school and municipal employees, and for construction and utility workers as part of the scenarios.

EPA reviewed the city’s PCB clean-up plan, which was found to be consistent with EPA methodologies and risk guidelines. EPA has reached a preliminary determination that the city’s proposed plan to address PCB contamination at the site is acceptable and that there will be no unreasonable risk to site users when the cleanup is completed. As an added safety measure, a long-term monitoring and maintenance program will be implemented to ensure continued protectiveness of the clean-up actions and information for site users and the community at large.

EPA’s draft approval is only for the McCoy Field site and does not address contamination to adjacent wetlands, residential properties, or at the existing high school.
The proposed clean-up plan submitted by New Bedford, and reviewed by EPA, includes:

    • Removal of PCBs of greater than or equal to 100 parts per million within the excavation areas;
    • Installation of a surface cover outside the building footprint (including landscaped areas), incorporating a geotextile liner and a 3-foot soil cap; for parking areas the surface cover will be a geotextile liner and a 2-foot soil cap with an asphalt cover;
    • Construction of the school building on pile caps/grade beams above ground surface;
    • Installation of a passive vapor collection system and solid vapor barrier beneath the building footprint;
    • Establishment of a long-term monitoring and maintenance plan for the surface covers and indoor and groundwater monitoring;
    • Development of a communications plan as part of the long-term monitoring and maintenance implementation plan.
While the long-term monitoring and maintenance implementation plan has not been fully developed, the city has proposed a plan for monitoring and maintenance for the surface covers, indoor air, and groundwater.

More information on PCBs is available at:

Information on the McCoy Field site, the human health risk assessment, and EPA’s review are available on the city’s website at: icon for EPA disclaimer.

Related Information:
Cleanup Process
Cleanup in New England
New Bedford Harbor
Web site