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Clean up Work Completed at New Hampshire Plating Superfund Site in Merrimack

Release Date: 01/17/2007
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – Jan. 17, 2007) – A joint Federal and State clean up effort was recently completed at the 13-acre New Hampshire Plating Co. Superfund site in Merrimack, N.H. The work was coordinated between the U.S. EPA and the N.H. Dept. of Environmental Services (NHDES).

Over the past several years, EPA has overseen work including excavation, treating contaminated soils, creating an impermeable cap, and backfilling, grading and planting vegetation on excavated areas.

EPA’s contractors excavated and treated approximately 95,000 tons of contaminated soil from areas of the site. The removed soil was treated with a process called “chemical fixation” which binds metal contaminants to soil particles, preventing them from contaminating groundwater.

“We are proud of the collaboration between EPA and our New Hampshire partners, which has resulted in this site being cleaned to protect the citizens of Merrimack,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England regional office. “We will now work with the Town of Merrimack so that the property may be put back into productive use.”

EPA has spent over $22 million at the site to conduct interim cleanup measures, perform comprehensive site investigations and complete the final design and cleanup of the site. In addition, as compensation for the loss of wetlands at the site, EPA and NHDES provided over $1.6 million for the purchase and protection of the 50-acre Greens Pond wetland area in Merrimack and the 38-acre Grassy Pond wetland area in Litchfield, N.H. In 2001, EPA awarded a grant of $99,000 to the Town of Merrimack to develop a reuse plan for the site.

“The N.H. Dept. of Environmental Services is pleased that activities at the NH Plating site have reached the Construction Complete milestone. This signals a significant advance in protecting the health of the local community and the surrounding environment. To date, DES has assisted EPA in many aspects of this complex project, including acquiring nearby wetlands to offset site-related impacts and expediting cleanup actions following recent floods. This site was once a scar on the landscape, and now DES looks forward to the day it is back in productive use,” noted DES Commissioner Tom Burack.

The 13-acre New Hampshire Plating Superfund site operated as an electroplating facility from 1962 to 1985. Wastewater containing metals, solvents and cyanide used in the electroplating operations was discharged into drainage channels in the former building floor, and flowed into unlined lagoons north of the building. Contaminants from the unlined lagoons impacted on-site wetlands, contaminated surface and subsurface soils, and reached the groundwater.

Between 1989 and 1994, EPA stabilized contaminated soils and sludge in an on-site storage cell, removed additional soil for off-site disposal, and demolished a former electroplating building (including the foundation, floor slab and underground storage tanks). Between December 2004 and December 2006, EPA cleared approximately seven acres of brush, trees and overgrowth from the site, oversaw the demolition of a 13,600-ton concrete storage cell which was created during an earlier phase of the work and completed the soil excavation, treatment and capping activities. The site was added to EPA's National Priorities List, commonly known as the Superfund list, in 1992.

Over the next several months, a network of groundwater wells will be installed at the site so that EPA and NHDES can conduct long-term monitoring of the groundwater at the site. In addition, EPA and NHDES will conduct periodic site inspections, property maintenance and provide site updates to the community and Town of Merrimack.

More information on the NH Plating site (epa.gov/ne/superfund/sites/nhplating)

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