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Waste Site Cleanup & Reuse in New England
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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
 New Bedford,  Massachusetts
 Bristol County
 Street Address: HATHAWAY RD
 Zip Code: 02740

 EPA ID #: MAD980731343
 Site ID #: 0100744
 Site Aliases:

 Site Responsibility: Federal, Potentially Responsible Parties

 Proposed Date 09/08/1983
 Final Date 09/21/1984

Site Description
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The 12-acre Sullivan's Ledge disposal area, in the northwestern corner of New Bedford, operated as a quarry until about 1932. In 1935, the City of New Bedford acquired the site through tax title foreclosure. Between the 1940s and the 1970s, local industries used the quarry pits and adjacent areas for disposal of hazardous material and other wastes including electrical capacitors, fuel oil, volatile liquids, tires, scrap rubber, demolition materials, brush and trees. After a fire at the site in the 1970s, the City backfilled the only existing open pit and covered all exposed refuse. In 1982, when the Massachusetts Department of Public Works drilled test borings as part of a plan to build a commuter parking lot, electrical capacitors, which may have caused polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination, were unearthed.

Approximately 98,500 people live within 3 miles of the site in this residential area. Within 1 mile of the site are two nursing homes and three schools. The New Bedford Municipal Golf Course is located immediately north of the site. An unnamed stream borders the site and discharges into Middle Marsh, which is on the golf course. Immediately north of the marsh lie railroad tracks, the Apponagansett Swamp, and the City of New Bedford municipal landfill.

Threats and Contaminants
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Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the on-site and immediately off-site groundwater increase with depth. Inorganic compounds and PCBs also are present in the groundwater. The soil was contaminated with PCBs and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). The soils along the eastern and southern boundaries contained the highest contaminant concentrations. Soils have eroded from the site into the unnamed stream and have been transported from the site. Sediments in the unnamed stream, Middle Marsh, four golf course water hazards, and a portion of the Apponagansett Swamp were contaminated with PCBs. The quarry area was capped to reduce potential exposures. Likewise, the Unnamed Stream, Middle Marsh, and water hazards have been cleaned and the resulting materials buried within the on-site cap.

Cleanup Approach
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The site was cleaned up in three stages: an initial action and two long-term remedial phases focusing on cleanup of the Sullivan's Ledge Disposal Area and the Middle Marsh.

Response Action Status
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Initial Action The City of New Bedford erected a fence around the Sullivan's Ledge Landfill from 1984 to 1985 to limit the potential for exposure to hazardous materials at the site.

Sullivan's Ledge Disposal Area The EPA chose the following remedies for cleaning up the disposal area portion of the site: excavate and dispose of sediments from the stream and the golf course water hazards; construct an impermeable cap over an 11-acre area to cover the quarry pits and contain the contaminated surface soils and sediments that would be placed on site; divert and line a portion of the unnamed stream to prevent water from being pulled into extraction wells; install an active pumping system to collect contaminated shallow bedrock groundwater, a passive collection system to collect contaminated seeps and shallow groundwater, and a treatment system to treat collected groundwater; restore and enhance the wetlands to reasonably similar hydrologic and botanical conditions that existed prior to excavation; monitor the site with 5-year reviews; and use institutional controls to ensure that the bedrock groundwater will not be used for drinking water since it cannot be cleaned to drinking water standards. The groundwater treatment plant began operating in late 1999. Construction on the cap began in the spring of 1998 and was completed in 2000.

Middle Marsh In 1989, the EPA began a study of the contamination in the Middle Marsh sediments. In 1991, the EPA released results of the studies undertaken, which indicated significant PCB accumulation in wildlife in and around Middle Marsh. While sediments in the Marsh also were found to be heavily contaminated with PCBs, the threat to human health was judged to be negligible. A decision on the appropriate cleanup remedy was reached in late 1991. The EPA chose the following remedy for Middle Marsh: establish security measures and clear the land; excavate contaminated sediments from portions of the Middle Marsh and the adjacent wetland; screen and dewater the excavated sediments; dispose of the excavated materials beneath the cap to be constructed at the Sullivan's Ledge Disposal Area; restore the affected wetlands; use institutional controls to prevent future residential use of and restrict access to the area; and establish a long-term environmental monitoring plan. Initial construction activities began in 1999 and were completed during 2000.

Enforcement HighlightsAn agreement was reached with 14 parties potentially responsible for site contamination to pay for cleanup of the Sullivan's Ledge Disposal Area. A separate agreement was reached with 15 potentially responsible parties to pay for the Middle Marsh Area cleanup.

Environmental Progress
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Fencing the area has limited the potential for exposure to hazardous materials at the Sullivan's Ledge Landfill. Capping of the site and the extraction of contaminated soils and sediments began in 1998. A groundwater treatment plant has been constructed and began operations in late 1999. The remainder of the remedy was completed during 2000.Capping of the site and the replanting of wetlands were completed in 2000. Activities at the site include operation and maintenance of the groundwater treatment plant, the control of landfill gas from the site landfill, and the restoration of the wetlands impacted by the cleanup. Operation and maintenance of the site remedy is being conducted by the responsible parties in conjunction with the City of New Bedford.

The first Five Year Review of the remedy was completed in 2002 and the second was completed in September 2008. The Five-Year reviews evaluates whether the remedial actions at the Site are protective to human health and the environment.

Current Site Status
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EPA completed the third Five-Year Review for the site in September 2013. The findings in 2013, indicate the the the Site is protective in the short-term, but additional actions need to be taken for the Site to be protective in the long-term. Further information of the required actions are described in the third Five Year Review, available below.

In December 2013, EPA approved the installation of a 1,760 kW DC Rated Photovoltaic System on the site cap. The system included 5490 solar panels that will cover most of the 11 acres of the cap. The power generated from this system will help meet the City of New Bedford's energy goals of purchasing power from renewable sources. The City of New Bedford along with their contractors will ensure that the system is operating and maintained in accordance with plans and specifications for the life of the solar array system. EPA will continue to provide oversight of monitoring activities and verify that the integrity of the cap is maintained.

SDMS 555804
Solar Array System Installation, April 2014

Site Photos
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SDMS 454302
Restoration work on the Unnamed Stream during the Fall of 2000.

SDMS 454303
Culvert is installed along the eastern boundary of the new landfill cap during 1998

Links to Other Site Information
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Disclaimer Instructions about PDF

Newsletters & Press Releases:
Press Releases about this project  

Federal Register Notices:
Final NPL Listing  

Administrative Records:
Administrative Record Index, OU01 Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD), July 26, 1995 (301KB)  
Administrative Record Index, OU01 Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD), September 27, 2000 (100KB)  
Administrative Record Index, OU01 Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD), September 1, 2003 (71KB)   

Reports and Studies:
Five-Year Review Report, September 29, 2003 (1.77 MB)  
Second Five-Year Review Report, September 01, 2008 (7.02 MB)  
Third Five-Year Review Report, September 20, 2013 (6.01 MB)  

Decision Documents:
View Records of Decision (RODS) on-line (EPA HQ)  
Record of Decision, June 29, 1989 (2188KB)  
Explanation of Significant Differences, July 26, 1995 (115 KB)  
Explanation of Significant Differences, September 27, 2000 (603 KB)  
Explanation of Significant Differences, September 29, 2003 (2.73 MB)   
Grant of Environmental Restriction and Easement (GERE) Recorded 05/30/2014, May 22, 2014, (1.16 MB)  
Institutional Controls at this Site  

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

Site Repositories
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New Bedford Public Library, 613 Pleasant Street., New Bedford, MA 02740

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: Kimberly White
Address: US Environmental Protection Agency
5 Post Office Square, Suite 100
Mail Code OSRR07-1
Boston, MA 02109-1367
Phone #: 617-918-1752
E-Mail Address: white.kimberly@epa.gov

EPA Community Involvement Coordinator: Kelsey O'Neil
Address: US Environmental Protection Agency
5 Post Office Square, Suite 100
Mail Code: ORA01-1
Boston, MA 02109-3912
Phone #: 617-918-1003
E-Mail Address: oneil.kelsey@epa.gov


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