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EPA Announces Completion of Atlas Tack Corporation Superfund Site Cleanup


EPA today announced that after slightly more than two years of cleanup activity, the approximately $21 million cleanup of the Atlas Tack Corporation Superfund site is now complete. About 108,129 tons of contaminated material was removed from the roughly 48-acre site. The upland portion of the site was backfilled and seeded and the wetlands were restored to pre-industrial conditions with additional fresh water wetland enhancements.

Congressman Barney Frank and EPA New England regional administrator Robert W. Varney, along with Fairhaven Selectmen Bowcock and Sylvia, gathered at Fairhaven Town Hall to commemorate the achievement.

“Completing the cleanup of the Atlas Tack Corporation Superfund site is a tremendous accomplishment” said Robert W. Varney, EPA New England regional administrator. “The spirit of cooperation and partnership demonstrated by Fairhaven officials and residents was key to this successful endeavor.”

“The cleanup of the Atlas Tack Superfund site has been an effort of local, state and federal officials, not just the present officials, but many who have come before us” noted Selectmen Bowcock. “Countless generations of Fairhaven residents will reap the benefits of this effort and cleanup.”

The cleanup was divided into three phases. Phase I included the demolition of the three-story manufacturing building, power plant, smoke stack, and building floor slabs. It also included the excavation and off-site disposal of 5,480 cubic yards of contaminated soil and 775 cubic yards of plating sludge from a 10 acre area referred to as the Commercial area (east of the existing building fronting Pleasant Street). This phase began in June 2005 and was completed in March 2006.

Phase II involved the excavation and off-site disposal of an estimated 36,660 cubic yards of contaminated soil, sludge, and debris from areas for the most part originally wetlands but filled in by industrial waste and debris. These activities began in March 2006 and concluded in March 2007.

Phase III, initiated in January 2007 and completed in September 2007, included the excavation and disposal of 36,430 cubic yards of contaminated marsh soil and creek bed sediment, reconstruction of the marsh and creek, and restoration of the entire site. The wetlands were restored to pre-industrial conditions and include the re-creation of a fresh and salt water wetland environment. The excavated and restored areas have been replanted with a variety of native species.

Although the cleanup of the site to commercial/industrial standards has been completed, there will be monitoring and maintenance activities and the placement of use restrictions on the site to ensure that the cleanup remains effective. Plantings will be monitored and maintained by EPA for 1 year and then by MassDEP and groundwater monitoring will occur for eleven years by EPA and then by MassDEP until the ecologically-based cleanup goals are attained.

Additionally, MassDEP is currently working with the Atlas Tack Corporation to address an existing 100,000 gallon # 6 petroleum fuel oil underground storage tank which is not part of the Superfund cleanup.

The Atlas Tack facility was built in 1901 by Henry Huttleston Rogers and historically manufactured wire tacks, steel nails, rivets, bolts, shoe eyelets and similar items. The facility operated electroplating, acid-washing, enameling, and paint processes until 1985. Process wastes were disposed of on the ground and in adjacent wetlands and discharged into an on-site lagoon. High levels of heavy metals, cyanide, PCBs, volatile organic compounds, pesticides, and other contaminants impacted area groundwater and surface waters, in addition to the site soil, sediment and portions of the former buildings. The site is located in a residential area, 200 feet from an elementary school and around 7,200 people live within one mile and about 15,000 live within three miles.


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