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EPA Evaluates Cleanup Progress at Landfill In Somersworth, N.H.

Release Date: 11/04/2005
Contact Information:

Contact: David Deegan (, EPA Office of Public Affairs, (617) 918-1017

For Immediate Release: November 4, 2005; Release # dd051104

(Boston) - The first “Five Year Review” report of the Somersworth Landfill Superfund site in Somersworth, N.H. has been completed by EPA. The review confirms that previous clean up measures at the site continue to protect human health and the environment.

The report shows that while VOCs (volatile organic compounds) continue to be present at the site, the concentration trends in groundwater are slowly being reduced by the previously-installed chemical treatment wall and ongoing natural attenuation processes at the site. In addition, institutional controls implemented in 2000 by the City of Somersworth appear to have prevented current exposures to, or ingestion of, contaminated groundwater.

Two issues were identified during the review: (a) additional notification of affected property owners within the area of groundwater contamination is needed; and (b) continued monitoring is essential to ensure that groundwater cleanup is progressing and that long-term exposures will not exist in the future at the site. EPA and the N.H. Dept. of Environmental Services (DES) will continue to address these issues.

The five-year review included an on-site evaluation by officials from both EPA and DES, a comprehensive review of all site-related records, reports and monitoring results, as well as a review of updated toxicity information. The next five year review is scheduled for 2010.

The site, located southwest of the center of the City of Somersworth, is a former sanitary landfill that extends over approximately 26-acres. The landfill accepted municipal and industrial wastes from the mid-1930’s to 1982. Initially the wastes were burned, but in 1958 the burning was stopped and the wastes were landfilled after excavating the natural soils.

A comprehensive investigation of the site was performed between 1985 and 1992 to determine the nature and extent of all contaminants at the site. A cleanup plan, issued in 1994, called for the placement of a soil cover over the landfill and chemical treatment wall along the western edge of the landfill, installation of a bedrock groundwater extraction well, and the establishment of a New Hampshire groundwater management zone to ensure that groundwater is not used for drinking water or any other purposes. The cleanup plan was modified in 2003 to incorporate a landfill gas venting trench that allows methane gas to escape from the subsurface.

More information about cleanup activities at the site may be found at: . EPA technical reports and documents are available for public review in the site information repository located in the Somersworth City Hall.

Related Information:
Somersworth Landfill
Cleanup Process
Superfund in New England