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EPA Announces Public Meeting Regarding W.R. Grace Superfund Site in Acton, Mass.

Release Date: 06/03/2003
Contact Information: Alice Kaufman, EPA Community Involvement Office, 617-918-1064 Derrick Golden, EPA Remedial Project Manager 617-918-1448

BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that a public meeting will be held to update area residents on the ongoing groundwater investigations at the W.R. Grace Superfund Site in Acton, Massachusetts, on Thursday, June 12, 2003 at the Acton-Boxborough High School, located at 96 Hayward Road, Acton. In addition, representatives will solicit community input on the ongoing human health and ecological risk assessments. The meeting will include a poster board session beginning at 6:30 PM and a formal presentation beginning at 7 PM.

“Of all the questions concerning the WR Grace site in Acton, those about the possible human health impacts of the site are what seem to be voiced most frequently,” said Jane Ceraso, Environmental Manager, Acton Water District, “The Human Health Risk Assessment should be of interest to both those who have lived in Acton for decades and as many newcomers.”

“There are still cleanup challenges ahead at the site, including determining a way to actively remediate the northeast part of the contaminant plume that has just recently been delineated,” said Mary Michelman, member of Acton Citizens for Environmental Safety (ACES). “The June 12th meeting is an opportunity for residents to learn more about the issues, and to let W.R. Grace and the government regulators know their concerns.”

The W.R. Grace site was listed as a federal Superfund site in September 1983. Since its listing, significant progress has been made in cleaning up the site; including installing a groundwater treatment system which has been operating on site since 1985 and excavation of the waste lagoons, consolidation of treated soil and sludge and capping of the landfill. The current groundwater investigations represent the final phase of cleanup targeted under Superfund.

Under EPA and MA DEP oversight, Grace has performed additional investigation work and engineering evaluations to better define the nature and extent of groundwater contamination, including the direction of flow of the contamination which originated from the Grace property. Over 400 groundwater monitoring wells have been installed and sampled since the early 1980s both on and off the Grace property, including 48 monitoring wells installed since 2000. In addition, 74 sediment and 33 surface water samples have been collected since 2000 to evaluate potential ecological and human health risks along a section of Fort Pond Brook and a section of the Assabet River and from Sinking Pond and several wetlands, all of which receive the discharge of impacted groundwater from the site.

The data obtained during this and all previous investigations will be used to develop a final cleanup plan or remedy for the site. This clean up plan is scheduled to be released in 2004. The public will have an opportunity to hear a presentation of the report findings at a separate public meeting and will be able to submit written comments on the proposed clean up plan as part of the public comment period at that time.

As part of the upcoming public meeting, the formal presentation on June 12th will review the results of the groundwater investigations, as well as provide an explanation of the types of exposures that are currently being evaluated as part of the human health risk assessment. This meeting provides the public with an opportunity to provide input on the human health and ecological risk assessments. To better understand the potential for human exposure to contaminants at the W.R. Grace Site, EPA is interested in hearing the kinds of activities residents may participate in on or near the site to better understand the potential for exposure to site contaminants.

In addition to the presentation, poster boards and information tables will be set up so residents may ask agency representatives questions informally. Among the organizations participating in the meeting are: United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Agency (MADEP), W.R. Grace (Remedium), the Acton Citizens for the Environmental Safety (ACES) and the Acton Water District.

For more information on the cleanup at W.R. Grace Superfund site go to: or to have your name added to the site mailing list, call Sarah White, EPA Community Involvement Coordinator 617-918-1026.

Directions to Acton- Boxborough High School: From Route 128/95: Take Route 2 West through Concord and continue on Route 2 through the Concord Rotary. Take right at exit for Route 27, take right at end of ramp (north). Take your first left onto Hayward Road. The school is about .5 mile down the road on the left.