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Waste Site Cleanup & Reuse in New England

Seppala and Aho

This Success Story was completed before the signing of the 2002 Brownfields Legislation. The Assessment Demonstration Pilot Program is now called the Assessment Grant Program.

Success in Assessment Demonstration Pilot Program
New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
New Ipswich, NH

(May 16, 2002)

Photo of a renovated building on site now part of town municipal complex.

Renovated building on site now part of town municipal complex.

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) worked with the town of New Ipswich, NH and used a portion of it's $200,000 EPA Assessment Demonstration Pilot (ADP) grant to characterize contamination on the former Seppala and Aho construction company property, located at 657 Turnpike Road. The characterization was completed in July 1998. The town, which owned the property, then funded the remediation in 2001 and renovated a number of the existing structures for the town's municipal complex - town office space, a police station, and the highway department.

The 9-acre property was occupied by Seppala and Aho construction since the 1960's. The owner left the company in the early 1980's. Gasoline and diesel underground storage tanks were removed in the late 1980's. The company went out of business in the early 1990's and the Alyward - Dill Trust took over the property in May 1994, acting as a secured (second mortgage) creditor. Alyward - Dill was unaware of the environmental contamination at the time they took over the property. Once it was discovered, they were a cooperative innocent party. They expended a substantial sum to address some of the environmental problems at the site. This included environmental site investigation and limited removal of identified contamination. The site investigation revealed several area of potential concern due to past improper handling, storage, and disposal of hazardous materials. Due to the existence of a sizable lien for unpaid property taxes and the need to expend additional monies to perform further site investigation, the trust decided to "abandon" the property and the town took the property for back taxes in July of 1997. The decision by the town to take the property was contingent upon receiving financial assistance to carry out the required additional site investigations.

NH DES hired consultants to characterize the extent of contamination and to fill the data gaps that remained from the previous assessments. There were six structures on the property. Elevated concentrations of VOC's, PHC's, and metals were detected in a dry well in one of the buildings. A partially buried, intact drum, several crushed drums, and asbestos-containing building materials were observed. The characterization cost $53,000.

The town funded the remediation activities to excavate the dry well and surrounding soil and to remove several crushed drums from the property. Three of the buildings were then renovated, done in large part through intensive volunteer construction work. One building now serves as town offices. The second serves as the police station and office space for the school department. The third building serves as office space and storage for the highway department. NHDES is still monitoring groundwater for contamination.

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