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1998 News Releases



Release Date: 10/29/1998
Contact Information: Alice Kaufman, EPA Community Affairs, 617-918-1064 Jim DiLorenzo, EPA Project Manager, 617-918-1247

BOSTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently issued a $9.9 million cleanup plan for the New Hampshire Plating Company Superfund Site in Merrimack, New Hampshire. The cleanup plan calls for the use of an innovative technology, chemical fixation, to treat, consolidate and contain the contaminated soils on the site so they are no longer a source of groundwater contamination.

"Innovative technologies, tested across the country, are being used to cleanup New England Superfund sites," said John P. DeVillars, EPA's New England administrator. "A combination of hi-tech science and Mother Nature may be the winning solution in Merrimack - a smart decision that makes sense."

The key elements of the cleanup plan are:

    • A chemical fixation process will be used to prevent continued contamination of the groundwater. This innovative process uses a chemical agent which binds the contaminants to the soil so that they do not leach into the groundwater. Through natural processes, the groundwater can then cleanse itself over time.
    • Material removed from the lagoons by EPA in 1992 and temporarily stored on-site, will also be treated by chemical fixation.
    • New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services will establish a Groundwater Management Zone to ensure that contaminated groundwater in the area is not used for drinking water and to establish a comprehensive groundwater monitoring program.
    • To compensate for the loss of wetland area at the site, EPA will preserve and protect off-site wetlands in the area, including wetlands near Grassy Pond in Litchfield and a wetland area in the Merrimack.
The New Hampshire Plating Company Superfund Site operated as an electroplating facility from 1962 to 1985. Wastewater containing metals and cyanide used in the electroplating operations was discharged into drainage channels in the building floor, and flowed into unlined lagoons (former wetlands) north of the building. Contaminants from the unlined lagoons reached the groundwater and are moving toward the Merrimack River.

The EPA removed sludge and soil from the lagoons and removed the contaminated building including the foundation, floor slab and underground storage tanks between 1989 and 1994. In 1992 the site was added to EPA's National Priorities (Superfund) List making it eligible for federal cleanup funds.