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City of New Bedford's Plan to Address Contamination at McCoy Field Approved

Release Date: 08/31/2005
Contact Information:

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

For Immediate Release: August 31, 2005; Release # dd050817

(New Bedford) - Following a careful science-based analysis, and a review of public comments, EPA has approved a plan developed by the City of New Bedford to clean up, cap and dispose of PCB contamination at the McCoy Field site in New Bedford.

EPA's approval imposes a substantial number of conditions designed to ensure that the site can be used as a school without risk from PCBs - polychlorinated biphenyls - which are toxic and environmentally persistent chemicals. The manufacture of PCBs was stopped in the U.S. in 1977 due to evidence that PCBs build up in the environment and can cause harmful health effects.

EPA's evaluation of the City's plan focused on ensuring that an effective clean up remedy for the site is in place that will be protective of human health and the environment. EPA's review also concludes that the plan is consistent with the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and federal PCB regulations.

In order to ensure that members of the community had an opportunity to review the City's proposed clean up plan and EPA's preliminary assessment of it, a public comment period was held between June 14 and July 29. EPA also held a public informational meeting in the community on June 22.

To address public concerns raised during public meetings and in comments submitted to the Agency, the approval requires that the City develop and submit detailed plans for a long-term monitoring and maintenance program to evaluate the caps, groundwater and sediment, vent gas and indoor air. Further, the City is required to develop plans to ensure continued public communication regarding its efforts, and to train on-site workers (such as landscapers) on the physical controls put in place to prevent disturbance of contaminated materials.

The City intends to build a new public school on the site. While EPA did not play a decision-making role in the selection of the site for the new Keith Middle School, EPA believes that the City's plan is acceptable and there will be no unreasonable risk to public health or the environment when the cleanup and subsequent monitoring and maintenance are conducted in accordance with the terms and conditions in the approval.

EPA's approval, the Agency's Response to Public Comments document, and supporting technical documents are available online at:

Related Information:
McCoy Field Site
TSCA Enforcement Program