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EPA DELISTS TWO PARCELS OF THE MATERIALS TECHNOLOGY LABORATORY SUPERFUND SITE IN WATERTOWN, MA FROM NATIONAL PRIORITIES LIST

Release Date: 11/22/1999
Contact Information: Alice Kaufman, EPA Community Affairs Office, 617-918-1064

BOSTON -The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today deleted the Watertown Arsenal Development Corporation Parcel and the Commander's Quarters Parcel located on the banks of the Charles River from the National Priorities List (NPL). These parcels were a part of the Materials Technology Laboratory Superfund site in Watertown, MA. The River Park portion of the Materials Technology Laboratory Superfund site remains on the NPL.

"Instead of waiting until the entire site is cleaned up, we parceled off the these two areas where cleanup has already been completed, and are making them available for immediate redevelopment," said John P. DeVillars, EPA's New England administrator. "Superfund reforms are resulting in New England sites being cleaned up in less time and, in many cases, less expensively. And we are now able to move sites off the Superfund list and turn our attention once again to the dirtiest sites in the region."

Leaking underground storage tanks and drums containing mixed waste have been removed from the site. The nuclear reactor and associated buildings and structures were demolished in 1994. Radiological decontamination on the site is complete. EPA determined that the contaminated groundwater beneath the site does not pose a public health risk and treatment of the groundwater is unnecessary.

Various areas on the Watertown Arsenal Development Corporation Parcel and the Commander's Quarters Parcel were contaminated with polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), pesticides and limited PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls). EPA also identified pesticide and metal contamination at the Commander's Quarters parcel Cleanup activities included excavation of contaminated soils, off-site disposal of excavated soil, backfilling of excavations with clean fill, and implementation of institutional controls in order to ensure continued protectiveness in the future.

A one million dollar restoration of the Commander's Quarters was undertaken by the town and the facility will be used for functions, community meetings and the like. The Watertown Arsenal Development Corporation Parcel has been redeveloped and will house such tenants as Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation, Arthur D. Little, Bright Horizons Corporate Headquarters, and ThingWorld.Com. It is estimated that 2,000 jobs will exist at this site within eighteen to twenty-four months.

EPA deleted these parcels based on the determination that all appropriate actions under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) have been implemented.

The Materials Technology Lab was established in 1816 and has been used as for storage, repair and issuance of small arms and ordnance supplies; material testing, arms manufacturing; and as the home of the Army's first materials research nuclear reactor (deactivated in 1970). The Materials Technology Lab closed in September 1995 and was proposed to the National Priorities List in June 1993 and was listed in May 1994.