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Superfund Dredging Resumes for Seventh Season in New Bedford Harbor

Release Date: 06/09/2010
Contact Information: Jeanethe Falvey, 617-918-1020

(Boston, Mass. – June 9, 2010) Through the first two weeks of June, work crews will be mobilizing equipment and personnel for the startup of EPA’s seventh season of Superfund dredging in New Bedford Harbor. Dredging is officially set to begin on June 14, 2010. This is the same cleanup process that has been used since the start of full scale dredging in 2004. In total, approximately 193,000 cubic yards of PCB-contaminated sediment have been removed as required by the 1998 cleanup plan; including cleanups prior to 2004 and the 2005 underwater cap project. Approximately 700,000 cubic yards of sediment remain to be addressed. EPA has worked within a “worst first” approach and much of the remaining sediment is lower in PCB levels than that removed to date.

Last year’s dredging was bolstered with additional cleanup funding from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This additional funding allowed for five full months of dredging, up from the two months that had been typical with annual appropriated funding since Superfund dredging began in 2004. A portion of that funding, leftover from last year, will be supporting this season as well. The extended duration for the 2009 dredge season doubled the amount of contaminated material that was removed from the harbor, and EPA anticipates this year’s results to be similar aiming to cleanup another 50,000 cubic yards by the end of October.

Cleanup crews will be operating 6 days a week, 12 hours a day, overseeing dredging and processing equipment, on the river and inside the two shoreline processing facilities at the end of Sawyer Street and Hervey Tichon Avenue in New Bedford. Similar to last year, two dredging locations will be staged in the upper harbor to take advantage of the tides to ensure as steady a process as possible.

Similar to previous years, water and air quality monitoring will be performed at numerous locations during the dredging season to ensure the protection of human health and the environment. .

For more information on the harbor cleanup, please visit:
www.epa.gov/ne/nbh

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