Wilmington Environmental Restoration Committee Awarded EPA Grant to Oversee Olin Chemical Superfund Cleanup
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently awarded a $50,000 technical assistance grant (TAG) to the Wilmington Environmental Restoration Committee, Inc. (WERC) for oversight of cleanup activities at the Olin Chemical Superfund site.
The TAG program was established in 1986 provide opportunity for concerned citizens to hire independent experts, such as toxicologists, chemists and biologists, who can help interpret and communicate complex technical data and site hazards so the affected community can become more knowledgeable about the Superfund cleanup process. EPA New England has awarded 49 of these grants.
“EPA looks forward to working closely with members of WERC and the local community throughout the Superfund process,” said Robert Varney, Regional Administrator of EPA’s New England Office. “The commitment of Wilmington citizens working towards a safe and effective clean-up of the Olin site is commendable and an excellent example for other communities to follow.”
With this grant, WERC plans to meet regularly with EPA and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) representatives to discuss work progress to help keep local residents informed during the site investigation and cleanup.
“The Wilmington Environmental Restoration Committee (WERC) is pleased to hear we have been approved to receive the US EPA’s Technical Assistance Grant. Having the ability to hire a technical assistant will assist us and the community in the assessment and evaluation of the technical information regarding contamination associated with the Olin Chemical site and its effect on the Maple Meadow Brook Aquifer,” said Martha Stevenson, President, WERC. “We are eager to work in cooperation with the governmental agencies, potentially responsible parties, and the general public to further the residents’ understanding of the remedial activities and the technical work products generated under the auspices of the EPA at the Olin Chemical Superfund Site.”
Chemical manufacturing began in 1953 at the Olin property, located at 51 Eames Street in Wilmington, Massachusetts. The facility produced specialized chemicals for the rubber and plastics industry including, blowing agents, stabilizers, antioxidants. Prior to 1970, chemicals were discharged into several central pits and ponds in the property. Contaminants found in the groundwater at the site include ammonia, chloride, sodium, sulfate, chromium, and N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). These chemicals were also present in several of Wilmingtons municipal drinking water wells at Maple Meadow Brook. In 2003, these wells were taken out of service. With significant impacts to town drinking water supplies, the town of Wilmington retained the consulting firm, GeoInsight, Inc., who will continue to oversee Superfund activities.
“The Town of Wilmington has invested a tremendous amount of energy and resources in an effort to ensure a safe and plentiful drinking water supply for its residents”, said Michael A. Caira, Wilmington Town Manager. “We welcome the involvement of the Wilmington Environmental Restoration Committee and we look forward to working productively with all of the parties involved in the clean-up and remediation activities associated with the Olin site.”
The Olin Chemical property was added to EPAs Superfund National Priorities List in April 2006. In June of 2007, EPA reached a settlement agreement with a group of Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs). EPA believes these parties among others, are responsible for investigating and evaluating cleanup options with EPA oversight, under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). This process will provide an overview of current site conditions, after which EPA can determine where gaps exist that require additional studies and field work.
The remedial investigation will also determine possible risks posed to human health and the environment by any contaminants present in the nearby groundwater, soils and air. Lastly, with EPA and MassDEP oversight, the settling parties will evaluate various methods for the cleanup of the contamination which poses unacceptable risk.
More information: EPA’s clean up work at Olin Chemical Superfund Site (http://www.epa.gov/region1/superfund/sites/olin )
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