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Excavation Work to Resume in Pittsfield, Mass. at Newell Street Area II

Release Date: 02/08/2006
Contact Information:

U.S. EPA - New England Regional Office
February 8, 2006

Contact: David Deegan, 617-918-1017

(Boston) – Beginning next week, work will resume excavating PCB-contaminated soil, drum remnants and debris from the Western Mass. Electric Co. portion of the Newell Street Area II site, at the intersection of Newell and Sackett Streets. The work will be performed by GE, under the direct oversight of both EPA and the Mass. Dept. of Environmental Protection (MassDEP).

Contaminated soil, drum remnants and capacitors encountered during the excavation will be transported off-site for disposal at a licensed facility. Soil will be temporarily stockpiled at Building 68 on the GE facility before being shipped off-site for disposal at a permitted facility. Any drums that are found intact will be overpacked, sampled and shipped off-site for disposal. Once the excavation is complete, the area will be restored and re-vegetated.

An estimated three- to four- thousand cubic yards of additional material will be removed over the next two months, bringing the total volume of material removed from the parcel to approximately 16,000 - 17,000 cubic yards. The additional excavation work is based on investigations conducted over the fall and early winter after which it was determined that additional excavation to approximately twice the depth than in the original plan.

Throughout the cleanup, measures will be taken to suppress any dust and minimize odors at the site to ensure that the cleanup activity does not impact the air quality of nearby residents or pedestrians in the vicinity of the work area. As an added precaution, both EPA and GE will perform air monitoring during the clean up.

Initial excavation at Newell Street began late last summer. During the excavations, a large number of drums and capacitors were encountered on the property. These discoveries resulted in EPA, MassDEP and GE conducting a series of non-invasive, subsurface investigations (called geophysical investigations) to further define the presence and extent of drum debris and capacitors.

Following the geophysical surveys, 18 trenches totaling approximately one thousand linear feet were dug in areas of the site to confirm the accuracy of the geophysical survey. Drum remnants and capacitors were encountered in 16 of the 18 trenches at depths ranging from four to six feet.

To date, 583 empty drum remnants and 34 drums containing liquid have been removed and sent off site for disposal. In addition numerous small capacitors have been discovered and disposed of through appropriate, protective mechanisms.

For more information: under "Newell St. Area II."

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