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Waste Site Cleanup & Reuse in New England

Woodbury Coal Tar Site

Background

Salem Gas Light Company operated on the property in the late 1800s. In 1994, a portion of the former facility was gifted to the City of Salem by a family. Contamination was initially discovered at the site while preparing 12 Woodbury Court for construction of a residence. EPA expanded sampling to include the park and nearby residences.

Contaminants of Concern

Contaminants of concern on this Site include polyaromatic hydrocarbons, arsenic and lead.The contaminants of concern at this site are consistent with coal tar, a by-product associated with manufacturing coal gas. Coal gas is a flammable gaseous fuel made from coal. Prior to the development of natural gas supplies and transmission systems during 1940s and 1950s, virtually all fuel and lighting gas used in the United States was manufactured from coal.

What to Expect

EPA and its contractors will be working behind fencing temporarily constructed for the project.  The fencing will prevent access to Gonyea Park until the cleanup in complete.  EPA will also set up a temporary office trailer to serve as a base for operations.

 EPA will be excavating and removing contaminated soil.  A process of wetting and covering the soil will prevent dust, and EPA will be monitoring the air quality on and around the site. Work practices will be altered if EPA detects contaminants at one-half the standard set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Residents should continue in their daily activities. Workers will be wearing protective equipment when on Site as required by OSHA. This is meant to protect them from any contaminants they may be handling while working.

There will be a local increase in truck traffic when soil is brought to and from the site. Drivers will be specifically instructed to obey traffic laws. Anyone noting otherwise is encouraged to contact EPA with specific information for corrective action. Idling will be kept to a minimum. The number of hours worked each day may vary, but will not start before 6 am or continue after 6 pm.

Location: Salem, MA
Start date: 05/13/2011
End date: Ongoing
Contact: Kate Renahan (renahan.kate@epa.gov)

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