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EPA Proposes Two Massachusetts Sites to be Added to National Superfund List

Release Date: 09/18/2012
Contact Information: EPA Public Affairs, (617) 918-1010

(Boston, Mass. – Sept. 18, 2012) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed two additions to the National Priorities List (NPL) – commonly referred to as Superfund – in Massachusetts. The NPL is a national list of sites that require further investigation and potential cleanup in order to protect human health and the environment in the long term. The sites being proposed to the NPL are the former Walton & Lonsbury Inc. facility in Attleboro, Mass. and the former Creese & Cook Tannery in Danvers, Mass. Both sites have received letters of concurrence from state officials supporting the NPL listing.

“Proposing to add these two sites to the national Superfund list is a first-step toward helping these communities to address contamination issues on these parcels. Superfund has been very effective cleaning contaminated lands across the country, ensuring cleaner and healthier communities,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office.

“Both of these are high priority sites because they present serious environmental and public health concerns, and there are no other sources of funding to implement the cleanups,” said Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). “The Superfund program provides a critical safety net, and will bring the funding and expertise needed to assess and clean up the contamination and eventually allow these sites to be put back into productive re-use.”

In the Fall of 2010, at the request of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), EPA began a removal action at the Walton and Lonsbury Inc. facility. The site housed a chrome plating facility, formerly operated by Walton and Lonsbury, Inc. While in operation from 1940-2007, the facility was used to chrome plate oversized objects such as pistons for large hydraulic equipment or rollers for paper mills. A number of chemicals and chemical compounds were used and left as waste in the operations process. The contaminants of concern on the site include total chromium, hexavalent chromium, lead and volatile organic compounds.

Since 2010, EPA and MassDEP have done significant sampling beyond the original site boundaries, and discovered that the contamination has migrated beyond the facility boundaries. This is why EPA, with the recommendation of the State of Massachusetts, has proposed this site for listing on the NPL.

The former Creese & Cook Tannery property is comprised of three parcels and a portion of a fourth parcel (a railroad right-of-way) totaling approximately 17 acres of land situated along opposite banks of the Crane River in Danvers, Massachusetts. At one time, the four parcels were owned by the Creese & Cook Company being used as a leather tanning and finishing operation from 1903 until 1981, when the company went bankrupt. The former Creese & Cook Tannery property was later subdivided and one of the three parcels (33 Water Street) on the east bank has been redeveloped into a condominium complex. Solid wastes from the manufacturing process were disposed of in two onsite landfills. Liquid effluent was discharged directly to the Crane River and later to sewers, while sludge waste was deposited in an on-site lagoon system.

The State of Massachusetts referred the site to EPA because it poses a serious risk to human health and the environment and because the former Walton & Lonsbury Inc. is bankrupt, leaving no other sources of funding available to perform further site characterization or long-term response actions. As the state lacks the sufficient resources to address the environmental and human health risks posed by the former Walton & Lonsbury facility, listing the site on the NPL is the best option to ensure a complete site investigation and cleanup.

For all NPL sites, EPA works to identify companies or people responsible for the contamination and to require them to conduct or pay for the investigation and cleanup. For newly listed sites without viable potentially responsible parties, EPA will investigate the full extent of the contamination before starting significant cleanup at the site.

More information on these proposed additions to the NPL, and other actions taken today by EPA on all final and proposed sites: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/current.htm

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