Contact Us

Newsroom

1997 News Releases

 

REVITALIZATION THROUGH COOPERATION: THE CITY OF TAUNTON PLANS REUSE OF COHEN PROPERTY SUPERFUND SITE THROUGH PROSPECTIVE PURCHASER AGREEMENT WITH EPA

Release Date: 10/17/1997
Contact Information: Erin Heskett, EPA Community Involvement Coordinator(617)918-1054 Dean Tagliaferro, EPA OnScene Coordinator (617) 223-5596 Beth Tomasello, Senior Enforcement Attorney (617) 565-3455

BOSTON -- In another effort to revitalize contaminated properties in Taunton, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved a prospective purchaser agreement with the city to facilitate the redevelopment of the Cohen Property Superfund Site.

The agreement will facilitate the city's reuse of a portion of the site to store equipment and materials such as salt and sand for the Department of Public Works and Building Department. The Cohen Property Site is in the Weir Neighborhood, designated by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as an "economic target area". The site will also serve as a transfer station for rail shipments to the Central Artery reconstruction project in Boston.

"Our removal program at work in the Weir Neighborhood and in Taunton as a whole has opened the door to redevelopment, converting stumbling blocks to building blocks for revitalization," said John P. DeVillars, administrator of the EPA's New England office. "Working with the city of Taunton, we have once again proved that environmental protection and sustainable economic development go hand in hand."

Under the prospective purchaser agreement, the city will not be held liable for existing contamination at the Cohen Property site. In exchange, the city will allow the EPA to dispose of up to 18,000 tons of contaminated soil in the Taunton Landfill, saving the federal government up to $1 million. The EPA will test the soil to make sure that it can be safely contained at the landfill. The city is also paving approximately one quarter of the site, saving EPA approximately $100,000 in capping costs.

The city will perform long-term operation, maintenance, and monitoring on the site, which is worth approximately $170,000 over the next 30 years. The city will also purchase an adjoining contaminated parcel, saving the EPA the costs of obtaining access to the parcel and negotiating land use restrictions. The city will grant land use restrictions and other institutional controls to ensure that the cleanup achieves its protective goals.

"The cooperative and 'can-do' attitudes of the various public agencies involved in getting this site cleaned up and ready for re-use is to be commended," said Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner David B. Struhs. "The city, the state, and the federal government all share the credit for working together to overcome obstacles and find creative solutions."

The Cohen Property Site is located at 87 Ingell Street in a mixed industrial, commercial and residential area in Taunton. The property is a closed-out scrap metal and auto salvage yard that operated in the 1960's, with salvage operations ending around 1985. The business pressed materials, such as automobiles, into scrap metal.

In 1993, the Weir Economic Industrial Revitalization Corporation alerted the EPA to possible contamination at the site. In 1994, EPA soil and water testing revealed elevated levels of polychlorinated biphenyls and lead.

Since removal work began in May, the EPA has transported 14,375 tons of waste to the Taunton Landfill, the majority of which was composed of chemically stabilized lead-contaminated soil. The EPA expects the total amount of waste transported off site to reach approximately 18,000 tons.

The EPA will cover 3 acres of the site with an impermeable cap that will keep any remaining contamination in the soil from entering the groundwater. The remaining 1.8 acres of the site will be paved by the city, which is the portion of the site that the city will be reusing. This cap and pavement will also eliminate the risk of direct human contact with or exposure to contaminated soils. For more information on the Cohen Property Superfund Site, please contact Erin Heskett, EPA at (617) 918-1054, or Dean Tagliaferro, EPA at (617) 223-5596. Questions regarding the prospective purchaser agreement should be directed to Beth Tomasello, EPA at (617) 565-3455.