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  NATICK LABORATORY ARMY RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT AND ENGINEERING CENTER


Map this site in Cleanups in My Community
 Natick,  Massachusetts
 Middlesex County
 Street Address: Kansas Street
 Zip Code: 01760
 Congressional
 District(s):

07
 EPA ID #: MA1210020631
 Site ID #: 0101831
 Site Aliases:

 Site Responsibility: Federal

 NPL LISTING HISTORY
 Proposed Date 05/10/1993
 Final Date 05/31/1994

Site Description
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The Natick Laboratory Army Research, Development, and Engineering Center (Natick Laboratory) is a 78-acre facility located in Natick, Massachusetts. The Army is the Lead Agency in charge of the clean-up [(508) 233-5550]. The Natick Laboratory occupies a peninsula on the eastern shore of Lake Cochituate state park and recreational area and is bordered on the north and west by a residential area. The site was purchased by the Army in 1949 from the Metropolitan District Commission. At the time of purchase the property was primarily used as a forested recreational area, but it also included a gravel pit in a section of the site now known as the Building T-25 Area. The Army built the Natick Laboratory in 1954 and has since used the area for industrial, laboratory, and storage activities for research and development in the areas of food science, aero-mechanical, clothing, material, and equipment engineering. During its operation, the Army used a variety of substances including the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) tetrachloroethene, trichloroethene, carbon disulfide, benzene, chloroform, and acetone; "standard laboratory chemicals;" mineral spirits/turpentine; paints; inks; lubricants; gasoline; tetraethyl lead, a gasoline additive; pesticides; and metal dusts. In addition, radioactive materials and chemical agents were used for food irradiation, tracer studies and clothing absorption tests, respectively. In 1989, personnel at the facility noticed a sheen on the site runoff water generated during rainstorms. Construction workers also noticed a benzene-like odor in soil near a boring that was drilled for the construction of a gymnasium on site. The Army conducted soil gas surveys in the Building T-25 and Gymnasium Areas and detected several types of VOCs. In addition, soil, groundwater, and surface water samples revealed elevated levels of VOCs and a variety of heavy metals, such as barium, arsenic, copper, chromium, lead, and zinc. Other potential sources of contamination have been identified near the laboratory. Petroleum, organic compounds, and chlorinated solvents have been discovered in soil and groundwater on a property previously used as a laundromat, which is located approximately 3,600 feet from the Army's Facility. Several other potential sources of groundwater contamination, including automotive garages and other laundromats, have been identified. The Springvale municipal well field is located 2500 feet northwest of the facility and may be threatened by the contaminated groundwater. About 37,000 people obtain their drinking water from wells within 4 miles of the site. The Army has upgraded their treatment system to more fully contain contaminated ground water on the facility.

Threats and Contaminants
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Soil, groundwater, and surface water are contaminated with various VOCs, naphthalene, Freon 113, and a variety of heavy metals such as barium, mercury, arsenic, copper, chromium, lead, and zinc have been found in various investigations. Contamination may threaten several municipal well fields. Contamination also may threaten Lake Cochituate, which borders the site on the east. People who ingest or come into contact with contaminated soil or groundwater may be at risk. In addition, the State issued a public health fish consumption advisory for Lake Cochituate in May of 1996.

Cleanup Approach
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This site is being addressed through several long-term remedial phases focusing on the cleanup of the T-25 Area, Former Gym Site, Supply Wells, Boiler Plant, and Building 22 & 36, and remaining investigational areas of the site.

Response Action Status
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T-25 Area The Army began an in-depth study of soil and groundwater contamination at the T-25 Area in 1993. Studies completed in 1993 thru 1996 have helped determine cleanup strategies for containing contaminant migration via an on-site pump and treat system. The Army is currently operating the pump and treat system and monitoring the groundwater in the T- Area. A Record of Decision (ROD) for groundwater was signed in September 2001. The ROD calls for the continued operation of the existing treatment system. The Army is updating plans for operations and maintenance and long term monitoring of the system and surrounding groundwater. Additional extraction well installation took place in fall 2002 to more fully contain the contaminated water on post. Additional monitoring wells were installed in 2003 to monitor the contamination north of the Site. The treatment system was upgraded to treat the additional water. Soil at the T-25 Area was determined to not require action. A No Further Action ROD was signed in September 2008.

Former Gym Site The Army began an extensive investigation of groundwater and soil contamination at the Former Gym Site in the fall of 1997. This investigation will lead to the selection of cleanup remedies for the area. An excavation of contaminated soils was completed in spring 2002. A report on the confirmation sampling was submitted in October 2002. An additional monitoring well was installed in 2003. The Army monitored the groundwater contamination for several additional rounds and determined the removal action was successful. A ROD for no further action was signed in the fall of 2007.

Supply Well (Buidlings 63, 2&45) The Army began an investigation of groundwater contamination at the Army Supply Well ( building 63) in the fall of 1997. The Army discontinued using the on-post water supply well and now contracts with the town of Natick for potable water. The Army has found additional groundwater contamination near the wells and Buildings 45 and 2. The Army is currently implementing a pilot study to determine groundwater capture effectiveness with an extraction system. Contaminated water is being treated at the T-25 area treatment plant. Additional well head treatment was implemented in August 2008 to treat a contaminant that is not treated by the treatment plant.

Boiler Plant and Building 22 & 36 Soil, Sediment and groundwater samples have been taken. The Army performed a soil removal action at the Boiler Plant, with a closeout report provided in the fall of 2001. The Army submitted a Remedial Investigation Report for the investigations at Building 22 in 2003. The Army is currently implementing a pilot study to determine groundwater capture effectiveness with an extraction system. Contaminated water is being treated at the T-25 area treatment plant. Soil at the Boiler Plant has been determined to not require action. A No Further Action ROD was signed in September 2008.

T-25 and Main Outfall A Tier I, II, & III Ecological Risk Assessment was performed for the sediments and surface water at these areas. The Army submitted the Tier III report in 2003. The Tier I & II indicated a probability of risk to the benthic community and a potential for aquatic food chain exposures to occur in the sediments, but no unacceptable risk for exposures to the surface water. The Tier III concluded that concentrations of chemicals of ecological concern in fish and in the sediment-based aquatic food chain do not pose unacceptable risk to wildlife. A human health fish consumption pathway evaluation completed in 2005 verified the Massachusetts DPH fish consumption restriction for sensitive populations. Additional fish tissue studies were conducted in fall 2007. A ROD was signed in September 2009 for the Sediment Area. The Army successfully removed contaminated sediment in Pegan Cove during 2010.

Soil Areas The Army has identified several other areas of possible contamination at the site as part of their Master Environmental Plan and Installation Action Plan. A ROD for No Further Action for the soil at the T-25 area, the Boiler Plant, and at Buildings 13 &14 was signed in Fall of 2008. Additional soil investigation is planned during 2012 at the site of the sediment dewatering facility.

Environmental Progress
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The EPA has determined that the Natick Laboratory Army Research, Development, and Engineering Center site poses no immediate threat to human health or the environment while studies leading to site cleanup are being planned and conducted.

Current Site Status
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The Soldiers Systems Command was added to the NPL in 1994. The Army began an in-depth study of soil and groundwater contamination at the T-25 Area in 1993. Studies completed in 1993 thru 1996 have helped determine cleanup strategies for containing contaminant migration via an on-site pump and treat system. The Army is currently operating the pump and treat system and monitoring the groundwater in the T- Area. A Record of Decision (ROD) was signed in 2001 after the Army and Natick signed a cooperative agreement that requires the Army to provide a one time grant of $3.1 million to the town to operate the town wellhead treatment plant. The town received the grant in September 2001. The Army began an extensive investigation of groundwater and soil contamination at the Former Gym site in the Fall of 1997. This investigation lead to an excavation of contaminated soils in the spring/summer of 2002. The Army began an investigation of groundwater contamination at the Army Supply Well in the fall of 1997. EPA and the Army signed a 2 party agreement under which the rest of the cleanup will be performed in August of 2006. In 2007 the Army implemented an extraction and treatment system for the groundwater near the Supply Well Area. The groundwater at the 63, 2&45 Area is pumped to the T-25 Area treatment plant. Building 22 & 36 groundwater is currently the focus of another extraction and treatment pilot study, similar to the 63, 2 & 45 Area. The conclusions of a Tier II Ecological Risk Assessment prompted a Tier III Ecological Risk Assessment Investigation which was performed in 2002. A report was submitted describing the low risks to the sediment-based aquatic food chain. Low human health risks were also found due to exposure to the recreational fish consumption pathway. The Sediments were removed in Pegan Cove as required by the ROD signed in September 2009. Soils were excavated at the Buildings 62 & 68 site during the fall of 2005. This site was included with the Former Proposed Gymnasium Site No Further Action ROD in the fall of 2007. Contaminated soil was removed from the Boiler Plant in 1990, 1995 and 2002. Soil was excavated at the T-25 Area in 1997. Soil was removed from the Building 14 and Former Building 13 in 2007. A No further Action ROD was signed in September 2008 for the soil at the T-25 Area, the Building 13 and Former Building 14 Area, and the Boiler Plant Area. Once the groundwater containment pilot studies are done for the 63, 2 & 45 area and 22 & 36 area, the Army will incorporate these areas into the OU1 T-25 Area ROD.

Site Photos
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Links to Other Site Information
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Disclaimer Instructions about PDF

Newsletters & Press Releases:
Press Releases about this project  
Environmental Report #11, Summer 2003  
Environmental Report #12, Summer 2005  
Newsletter Regarding Status of Sediment and Fish Studies at Natick Soldier Systems Center, May 2009 (494 KB)   
Newsletter: Sediment Cleanup on Cochituate, June 2010 (640 KB)   

Federal Register Notices:
Final NPL Listing  

Reports and Studies:
First Five-Year Review Report, March 1, 2007 (opening file is 19.34 MB with links to external files)  
Draft Proposed Plan for Sediment Contamination Along the Lake Cochituate Shoreline, May 18, 2009 (1.30 MB)  
Final Sediment Remedial Action Completion Report and Approval, May 4, 2011 (99.39 MB)  
Second Five-Year Review Report, March 1, 2012 (3.86 MB)  

Decision Documents:
View Records of Decision (RODS) on-line (EPA HQ)  
Final Record of Decision, Operable Unit 3, September 28, 2007 (32.42 MB)  
Final Record of Decision for Sediment, Operable Unit 2, September 24, 2009 (14.6 MB)  
Record of Decision (ROD) for Soil at the T-25 Area Building 14 and Former Building 13 and Boiler Plant, September 26, 2008 (5.44 MB)  
Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD) for T-25 Area Groundwater, May 8, 2013 (2.25 MB)  

Other Links:
NPL Site Narrative at Listing:  
Site Progress Profile  
Restoration Advisory Board Meeting Minutes  

Site Repositories
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Soldier's System Center Environmental Safety and Health Office, Jim Connolly (508) 233-5550
Natick Library, Natick, MA 01760
Natick Board of Health, Town Hall, Natick, MA 01760


Contacts
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EPA Remedial Project Manager: Christine Williams
Address: US Environmental Protection Agency
5 Post Office Square, Suite 100
Mail Code OSRR07-3
Boston, MA 02109-3912
Phone #: 617-918-1384
E-Mail Address: williams.christine@epa.gov

EPA Community Involvement Coordinator: Pamela Harting-Barrat
Address: US Environmental Protection Agency
5 Post Office Square, Suite 100
Mail Code ORA20-1
Boston, MA 02109-3912
Phone #: 617-918-1318
E-Mail Address: harting-barrat.pamela@epa.gov

 


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Last updated on Wednesday, May 29th, 2013
URL: http://www.epa.gov/region1/superfund/sites/naticklab