Sites In Mass. And Conn. Are On EPA’s Superfund Redevelopment Focus List
January 17, 2018
Boston – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its initial list of Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) sites with the greatest expected redevelopment and commercial potential including two sites in New England: New Bedford Harbor in New Bedford, Mass. and Raymark Industries Inc. in Stratford, Conn.
“EPA is more than a collaborative partner to remediate the nation’s most contaminated sites, we’re also working to successfully integrate Superfund sites back into communities across the country,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “Today’s redevelopment list incorporates Superfund sites ready to become catalysts for economic growth and revitalization.”
“EPA plays a very important role coordinating closely with local and state partners to help New England communities pursue redevelopment opportunities at superfund sites that can spur both improved community health and economic revitalization,” said EPA regional administrator Alexandra Dapolito Dunn. “New Bedford Harbor and Raymark Industries are two sites that we are focused on bringing back into productive re-use.”
Superfund redevelopment has helped countless communities reclaim and reuse thousands of acres of formerly contaminated land. Superfund sites on the list have significant redevelopment potential based on previous outside interest, access to transportation corridors, land values, and other critical development drivers.
New Bedford Harbor, New Bedford, Mass.
There are a number of redevelopment opportunities that EPA is working closely with the City of New Bedford and Commonwealth of Massachusetts These include studies on potential reuse of EPA shoreline support facilities, coordination of the City’s plans for a “Riverwalk” with EPA’s cleanup of the Upper Harbor shoreline, and integration of EPA authorized/State-sponsored navigational dredging with the construction of port facilities.
New Bedford Harbor is a busy commercial port, leading the nation in terms of the dollar value of its annual fishing catch. The historic improper disposal of wastes from several capacitor manufacturing plants caused the Harbor to be listed as one of EPA’s largest Superfund Cleanup Sites. The harbor is an 18,000-acre urban estuary with sediment highly contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and heavy metals.
EPA is working in coordination with the City and Commonwealth to return the New Bedford Harbor environment to a healthy state once again. Prior to the start of the full-scale dredging program in 2004, EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers performed multiple targeted cleanup actions within the harbor and along the shoreline that removed some of the highest levels of PCB contamination. In 2013 EPA finalized a $366.25 million settlement with the main responsible party at the site. EPA estimates the majority of the cleanup will be complete within about 5 years. Approximately 425,000 cubic yards of PCB-contaminated sediment has been removed from the Upper Harbor as of December 2017. Dredging of approximately 220,000 cubic yards of less contaminated sediment in the Lower Harbor and Upper Harbor was completed during 2016-2017, followed by placement in the Lower Harbor CAD Cell. Another 25,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment cleanup has been completed by EPA along the Harbor’s shoreline.
Raymark Industries Inc., Stratford, Conn.
For decades, until the late 1980s, Raymark Industries, Inc. operated in Stratford, CT as a manufacturer of friction automobile parts including brakes, brake linings, and clutches The manufacturing process utilized many hazardous substances including asbestos, heavy metals (for example, lead), and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Waste materials from the facility were offered and distributed to residents as free “fill” and were also placed in many (dozens) of low-lying municipal and commercial locations. The remedy for the former Raymark facility was completed in 1999 and that property has since been redeveloped; however, many other locations are still in need of cleanup.
In 2016, EPA -working closely with the State (CT DEEP), the Town of Stratford, and residents — made a remedy decision that, once implemented, will address many of the remaining potential human exposures to Raymark waste in soil. This significant milestone moves the cleanup forward at many of the long-contaminated commercial properties and allows the material to be consolidated at the location of the abandoned ballfield associated with the former facility (a.k.a., the “Consolidation Remedy”). The reuse opportunities at the Raymark site include: 1) incorporating a developer’s plans to construct a self-storage facility (or similar) on a parcel that is intended to be capped in place, and 2) future reuse of the ballfield at the conclusion of the Consolidation Remedy. Both parcels are presently municipally owned.
EPA has and continues to work closely with the State (CT DEEP), the Town of Stratford, and residents to solicit their input on the least disruptive way to implement the Consolidation Remedy as well as to identify potential redevelopment opportunities to incorporate reuse planning into our remedies.
In July 2017, the Superfund Task Force released its recommendations to streamline and improve the Superfund program including a focus on redevelopment training, tools and resources towards sites on the NPL. EPA will work diligently with developers interested in reusing these and other Superfund sites; will identify potentially interested businesses and industries to keep them apprised of redevelopment opportunities; and will continue to engage with community groups in cleanup and redevelopment activities to ensure the successful redevelopment and revitalization of their communities.
Administrator Pruitt has set the expectation that there will be a renewed focus on accelerating work and progress at all Superfund sites across the country. The Superfund program remains dedicated to addressing risk and accelerating progress at all of its sites, not just those on the list.
This is not a complete list of sites in the Superfund program with redevelopment potential. The list is intended to be dynamic. Sites will move on and off the list as appropriate.
For more information, visit: https://www.epa.gov/superfund-redevelopment-initiative/superfund-redevelopment-focus-list