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EPA Extends Public Comment Period for Proposed Clean Up Plan for Blackburn and Union Privileges Superfund Site in Walpole, Mass. - Comment Period Extended until August 18, 2008

Release Date: 07/17/2008
Contact Information: Stacy Greendlinger, (617) 918-1403

(Boston, Mass. – July 17, 2008) – EPA granted a request to extend the public comment period an additional 30 days for the proposed cleanup plan for the Blackburn and Union Privileges Superfund site; the comment period will now conclude on August 18, 2008.

EPA held informational meetings on June 9, 2008 and July 14, 2008. A formal hearing was also held on July 14, 2008 to receive public comments.

The proposed cleanup plan’s key components are:
• Collect and treat groundwater that is discharging to surface waters on-site;
• Restrict groundwater use on-site and monitor to ensure contaminated groundwater is not moving off-site;
• Comprehensive excavation and off-site disposal of contaminated soil east of South Street;
• Excavate Settling Basin No. 2 Containment Cell within the Area of Containment with off-site disposal. Maintain remainder of existing Area of Containment soil and asphalt cover;
• Establish land use and access restrictions;
• Excavate and dredge contaminated soil and sediment from the Neponset River, Former Mill Tailrace and Lewis Pond; dispose off-site.

EPA is accepting public comment on the Blackburn and Union Privileges Superfund site cleanup proposal until August 18, 2008. Comments can be sent by mail, e-mail, or fax.

Send written comments, postmarked no later than August 18, 2008, to:
Dave Lederer
Project Manager
EPA New England
1 Congress Street
Suite 1100 (HBO)
Boston, MA 02114-2023

E-mail comments to:

Fax comments to: 617-918-0325

The approximately 20-acre Blackburn and Union Privileges Superfund site is located in a mainly residential area bisected by South Street and the Neponset River in Walpole, MA. The site includes 21 parcels of land consisting of both industrial properties and undeveloped or residential properties and other areas where contamination has come to be located. The non-industrial properties include several parcels along the Neponset River and the shoreline of Lewis Pond downstream. The nearest municipal well is within one mile and the Neponset River bounds the site’s southern portion.

Industrial and commercial processes on the site using chromium, arsenic, and mercury date back to the 1600s. In about 1811, the Blackburn Privilege was established east of South Street and around 1812 the Union Factory Privilege was established west of South Street. The term privilege refers to a grant enabling commercial usage of the Neponset River for water supply and power. Water was diverted through a canal into a powerhouse and then through a mill tailrace before it was discharged back into the Neponset River. Between 1891 and 1915, the site was used for manufacture of tires, rubber goods, and insulating materials. The crushing of raw asbestos in the manufacture of brake and clutch linings occurred at the site between 1915 and 1937. The former mill building west of South Street, which is currently vacant, was the site of much of these operations and housed The Standard Woven Fabric Company, which was renamed Multibestos Corporation. Various cotton and fabric production processes were conducted at the site from 1937 until 1985. Part of this operation included discharging treated wastewater through one of two settling basins and then to the Walpole sewer system. The former mill building west of South Street has been vacant for many years. The buildings east of South Street are currently partially occupied by Cosmec, Inc. The industrial portion of the site is currently privately owned.

More Information: EPA’s Web site on the Blackburn & Union Privileges Superfund Site (

Information on the site is also available at:
- Walpole Public Library, 65 Common Street, 508-660-7340
- EPA Records Center, 1 Congress Street, Boston, 617-918-1440.

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