Parker Street Waste Site in New Bedford, Mass, being cleaned by EPA

  • Date: November 29, 2010
  • Source: Admin
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EPA commenced site mobilization for removal of soil at the Parker Street Waste Site, last week. Involving removal of contaminated soil from residential properties, the activity will continue until December. Work commenced last week to establish EPA’s command post and equipment staging areas and interact with property owners on specific plans. The first step, involving tree and brush clearing, has been taken up. Clearing areas for removal of soil and contaminated soil and their replacement with clean soil will be undertaken from 8 A.M to 5 P.M, Monday to Friday. Workers will wear protective clothing, white tyvek coveralls and hard hats. To ensure that people in the surrounding area are not affected, air-monitoring and dust control will be taken up as a precaution. To ensure that local traffic is least affected during the peak hours EPA will bring down response-related traffic.
Towards the end of last year, EPA and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) drafted a plan to confirm the perimeter of the site boundaries and ascertain possible soil contamination. The plan was finalized in consultation with the community and the City of New Bedford. 
Initial Phase of Site Assessment
The initial phase of site assessment on 47 properties was completed last summer. Contamination levels exceeding the applicable Massachusetts environmental standards were noticed in five properties. These properties will be taken care of during the current construction season. More properties with contamination in the top three feet of soil will be cleaned up next spring. A team comprised of representatives from the various agencies apprised the property owners and residents of the sampling results and availability sessions in September and October. Government representatives attended the meeting to ascertain the health concerns of residents and interact with property owners on the steps required to deal with contamination in individual cases.
Update on the Site Activities
EPA and MassDEP in their second phase of sampling undertaken in October covered 24 more properties. An update on the site activities was recently issued to owners and tenants at all properties in the affected area. EPA and MassDEP intend convening a public meeting in mid-December to review the sampling results and the clean-up activity in progress. 
Environmental Justice
In the Love Canal case, the local school board at Niagara Falls city, New York, desired to purchase a property (from Hooker Chemical) that had been used to bury toxic waste. Hooker refused because there were toxic chemicals below the surface. But the board was adamant. The cornered Hooker sold the entire property for USD 1 in 1953. But Hooker included a 17-line caveat in the agreement which explained the hazardous consequences that could follow if a building came up on the site. Hooker thus believed that it had been released from all legal obligations that lawsuits could give rise to in future. But the courts held Hooker financially liable for the harm that resulted from its disposal practices.


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