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EPA Removal Work Begins at Danvers, Mass. Site

Release Date: 04/26/2012
Contact Information: Kate Renahan, (617) 918-1491

(Boston, Mass. – April 26, 2012) – This week EPA began work to remove hazardous materials from 33 Water Street, in Danvers Mass. The removal project is expected to take eight weeks.

Starting in 1903, the Creese & Cook Company operated a leather tannery and finishing facility located at 33 Water Street.   In 1914, the tannery operation was expanded across the Crane River to 55 Clinton Avenue.  Creese & Cook conducted tannery activities on both sides of the River from 1914 to 1981, at which point the Creese & Cook Company ceased operations at these properties.  The Danversport Tanning Company continued the operation at the 33 Water Street property until 1984. From 1986 to 1987, the 33 Water Street property was redeveloped as the 28-unit Crane River East Condominiums.

Based on the historic use of the property as a leather tannery and finishing facility, EPA performed an evaluation to determine whether past operations resulted in environmental contamination.  Results of these studies indicate that some contamination remains as a result of previous tannery operations.

The evaluation revealed that arsenic in surface soil in the back yard and to the sides of the northern most building of the Crane River East Condominiums is above the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) Imminent Hazard threshold value for arsenic.  Imminent Hazard threshold values represent concentrations above which individuals may be at risk when exposed to the soils over a relatively short period of time.

MassDEP has installed a fence around the area in question to prevent people from coming in contact with the arsenic contaminated soil. Removal activities in the yard area of the property will be focused on addressing risks posed by arsenic contamination in surface soils.  Additional cleanup activities may occur at a later time as part of a larger proposal to address all of the properties that were originally part of the former Creese & Cook operations.

EPA will be conducting additional sampling as needed to further characterize the extent of contamination in the surface soils prior to performing cleanup work. EPA will excavate and dispose of contaminated surface soil at an EPA approved off-site disposal facility. Piles of soil may remain on site for several weeks before disposal arrangements can be completed. Restoration of response related damages such as re-seeding and replanting will likely continue into the late summer/ early fall.

Workers may be on the site at 7:00 AM, with heavy equipment not being operated before 7:30 AM or after 6:00 PM. During the first few days of excavation activities, workers handling the contaminated soil may be dressed in protective clothing, including white tyvek coveralls, as a routine precautionary measure. Throughout the clean up, EPA staff and contractors will take measures, such as conducting area air monitoring and taking precautions to limit dust. These measures are taken to ensure that conditions are not harmful for people in the surrounding area.

EPA, in conjunction with MassDEP, is evaluating the former Creese & Cook properties, which includes 33 Water Street, for inclusion on the National Priorities List (NPL).  The NPL is a national list of sites that EPA determines requires further detailed investigation and potential cleanup in order to protect human health and the environment in the long-term.  It is currently anticipated that the site(s) could be proposed to the NPL in September 2012.

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