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United States Environmental Protection Agency
Waste Site Cleanup & Reuse in New England
  Serving Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont & 9 Tribal Nations
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 Site Type: Long Term/National Priorities List (NPL) Click to see more about Site Type and how it is used?


Map this site in Cleanups in My Community
 Merrimack,  New Hampshire
 Hillsborough County
 Street Address: 20 Wright Ave.
 Zip Code: 03054

 EPA ID #: NHD001091453
 Site ID #: 0101092
 Site Aliases:

 Site Responsibility:

 Proposed Date 07/29/1991
 Final Date 10/14/1992

Site Description
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From 1962 to 1985, the New Hampshire Plating Co. (NHPC) conducted electroplating operations on its more than 13 acre parcel in Merrimack, New Hampshire. Four natural lagoons located on-site were used for disposal of wastes and waste waters resulting from the electroplating operations. These lagoons were unlined and had no leachate detection or collection systems. Because of the nature of the operations, the NHPC declared itself a hazardous waste disposal facility in 1980 under Subtitle C of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The EPA and the New Hampshire Division of Environmental Services (NHDES) cited the NHPC, in 1982, as having violated several RCRA requirements. A Notice of Violations and Order of Abatement were issued to the NHPC by the NHDES as a result. Operations at the NHPC ceased in 1985 due to the NHPC's financial inability to meet compliance standards and continue hydrogeologic investigations at the site. In 1987, the lagoon system was stabilized, contaminated debris on the site was removed, and the NHPC building was given a superficial cleaning under the supervision of the NHDES. In 1990, approximately 13,600 tons of contaminated sludge and soil at the property were stabilized on-site by the EPA; 5,600 tons of contaminated sludge and soil was consolidated under an impermeable cap in a former lagoon area; and an additional 5,000 tons of soil were disposed off-site. The area immediately surrounding the site is served by public water. However, there are wells located within 4 miles of the site that are a drinking water source for an estimated 39,000 people; the closest of these wells is located within 1 mile of the site. Groundwater below the site is shallow, flowing eastward towards the Merrimack River and southward to Horseshoe Pond, both of which are located within 1,000 feet of the site.

Threats and Contaminants
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Various volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and heavy metals, including cadmium, are present in groundwater throughout the site. Lagoon soils contain elevated levels of heavy metals and cyanide.

Cleanup Approach
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The site is being addressed in two stages: initial actions and a long-term remedial phase focusing on cleanup of the entire site.

Response Action Status
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Initial Action The NHDES' cleanup activities that took place in 1987 included treatment of the lagoon system with lime and a sodium hypochlorite solution; removal of debris, drums, and plating tank liquids; and a superficial cleaning of the NHPC building. From 1990 to 1991, the EPA removed, solidified, and consolidated sludges and soils from the four lagoons. To further secure and restrict access to the site, a perimeter fence was built. In 1994, the NHPC building was decontaminated, demolished, and removed from the site. An underground storage tank was also removed. Sampling under the former building was performed and a temporary cap was installed to prevent the possible spread of contaminated soils.

Entire Site In mid-1992, the EPA began an investigation into the nature and extent of contamination at the site. The investigation was completed in the summer of 1996. EPA issued a proposed cleanup plan to the public in January 1998. A Record of Decision (ROD) was signed in September 1998 that specified treatment of contaminated soils through an innovative process referred to as chemical fixation. A design of the cleanup approach specified in the ROD, including a pilot study of the chemical fixation process, was completed in December 2002. Final cleanup actions began in November 2004 and soil cleanup activities were completed in December 2006.
The Grassy Pond wetland in Litchfield, NH was acquired in 1998 to partially compensate for lost wetlands on-site. The Green's Pond wetland area in Merrimack, NH was also acquired in 2002 which completed all necessary wetland compensation activities associated with the eventual cleanup of the site.

Site Reuse Grant The Town of Merrimack was the recipient of a reuse grant in 2001. With the grant, the Town developed a draft Reuse Plan which calls for recreational use of the property. The Town approved the Reuse Plan in January 2005, and EPA continues to work with the Town to discuss potential recreational uses at the site as well as other local interests in the property.

Enforcement HighlightsThe owner/operator was identified as the only potentially responsible party, but was determined to be financially unable to contribute to the investigation and cleanup.

Environmental Progress
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The completion of soil cleanup activities have reduced the risk posed to the health and safety of nearby residents and workers. EPA has determined that this site does not pose an immediate threat to human health and the environment, and will continue to monitor the site for any changes that may trigger additional action.

Current Site Status
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Full-scale remedial construction activities began in the Summer of 2005 which included the excavation of all remaining contaminated soils and sludge from the site, treatment of contaminated soils through chemical fixation, backfilling treated soils on-site, regrading excavated areas, and the construction of a two-foot soil cover system over the backfilled treated soils. These activities were completed in December 2006.

With the completion of soil cleanup activities, EPA expects that contaminant levels in groundwater will naturally attenuate to safe drinking water levels in 26-58 years. Sampling of monitoring wells, surface water from Horseshoe Pond and the Merrimack River, and three water supply wells across the river in Litchfield will continue in the future under the direction of the NHDES until groundwater contaminant levels attenuate.

The first Five-Year Review report for all site cleanup activities was completed in December 2009. The Second Five year Review was completed in December 2014. Both are available in the Site Repositories listed below and via this website.

The remedy implemented at the NHPC Superfund Site is currently protective of human health and the environment, because the source control portion of the remedy included excavation, chemical fixation, and on-site backfilling of treated soils. In addition, treated materials were covered with a 2-foot permeable soil cover and re-vegetated to address potential human health and ecological exposures. With the source controls completed, groundwater quality is anticipated to be restored to acceptable levels through dilution and natural attenuation. Additional investigations to better determine where residual contamination may be in specific soil zones are anticipated in the 2015.

In order for the remedy to be protective in the long-term Institutional Controls are still needed at the Site to prevent exposures to contaminated groundwater and to prevent exposures to treated soils. In particular, restrictions on parcel 1 ( former NH Plating building area) to ensure the property remains commercial/industrial and on parcel 2 ( former lagoon area) to ensure remaining wetlands are not disturbed and to limit excavation of more than two feet into the treated, backfilled soils are still needed to be implemented.

Site Photos
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Click photo for more photos. http://www.epa.gov/region1/superfund/sites/nhplating/photos.html

SDMS 454671
Looking South across the site.

Links to Other Site Information
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Disclaimer Instructions about PDF
Maps and Photos:
Photo slide show  

Newsletters & Press Releases:
Press Releases about this project  

Administrative Records:
Non-time Critical Removal Action (NTCRA) Administrative Record Index, February 18, 1994, (532 KB)  
Removal Action Administrative Record (AR) Index, January 19, 1990, (528 KB)  

Reports and Studies:
First Five Year Review Report, December 29, 2009 (7.84 MB with links to additional PDF files)  
Preliminary Close Out Report (PCOR), September 28, 2006 (740 KB)  
Final Site Reuse Profile, June 1, 2005 (296 KB)  
Second Five-Year Review, December 30, 2014 (13.6 MB)  

Decision Documents:
View Records of Decision (RODS) on-line (EPA HQ)  
Record of Decision with Declaration, September 28, 1998 (12.9 MB)  

Other Links:
NPL Site Narrative at Listing:  
Site Progress Profile  

Site Repositories
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Merrimack Public Library, 470 Daniel Webster Highway, Merrimack, NH 03054

OSRR Records and Information Center, 1st Floor, 5 Post Office Square, Suite 100 (HSC), Boston, MA 02109-3912 (617) 918-1440

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EPA Remedial Project Manager: Cheryl Sprague
Site Responsibilities: Remedial Project Manager
Address: US Environmental Protection Agency
5 Post Office Square - Suite 100
Mail Code OSRR07-1
Boston, MA 02109-3912
Phone #: 617-918-1244
E-Mail Address: sprague.cheryl@epa.gov

EPA Community Involvement Coordinator: Rodney Elliott
Address: US Environmental Protection Agency
New England Regional Laboratory
11 Technology Drive
North Chelmsford, MA 01863-2431
Phone #: 617-918-8372
E-Mail Address: elliott.rodney@epa.gov

State Agency Contact: Michael Summerlin
Address: New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
Waste Management Division
Hazardous Waste Remediation Bureau
29 Hazen Drive
Concord, NH 03302-0095
Phone #: 603-271-3649
E-Mail Address: Michael.SummerlinJR@des.nh.gov


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Last updated on Wednesday, November 4th, 2015
URL: http://www.epa.gov/region1/superfund/sites/nhplating