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Mohawk Tannery

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Site Description

The Mohawk Tannery Site in Nashua, NH, consists of two adjacent parcels that are each approximately 15 acres: a developed "northern parcel," which was historically used for tannery manufacturing and waste disposal operations; and a "southern parcel" that is undeveloped. The site is bordered by the Nashua River to the west, the Fimbel Door Company to the north, and residential neighborhoods to the east and southeast. The former tannery facility produced tanned hides for leather from 1924 until it closed in 1984. During its operation, the tannery produced a number of waste streams, which were initially discharged into the adjacent Nashua River. Later, they were disposed of onsite in unlined waste lagoons. Several of the onsite waste lagoons are located within the 100-year flood plain of the Nashua River.

Current Site Status and Cleanup Actions to Date

  • In June 2003, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) started remedial investigation activities funded by EPA. The investigation of the buildings, groundwater, and soil will cost approximately $1 million and is expected to be completed in January/February 2005.
  • In the Spring of 2003, the City of Nashua formed a steering committee tasked with helping the City decide if it should ask EPA to finalize the site to the National Priorities List (NPL).
  • In July of 2003, the steering committee recommended that finalization of the site to the NPL be delayed to allow the committee more time to discuss options with prospective private developers.
  • In July 2002, the City of Nashua requested that finalization of the site onto the NPL be delayed while the city pursued alternative means to fund the cleanup.
  • In July 2002, EPA completed a cost/benefit analysis to further characterize the nature and extent of contamination in the unlined lagoons and several other disposal areas, and to evaluate potential removal options for these materials. The analysis identified a preferred cleanup approach which involved excavating approximately 60,000 cubic yards of waste for disposal off-site at a cost of approximately $15 million.
  • In January 2001, EPA completed a short-term response to characterize and dispose of drums and small containers containing hazardous substances, asbestos containing material, caustic wastes, and the contents of a clarifier tank. In addition, a number of gates were repaired and warning signs were posted to further secure the site.
  • The Mohawk Tannery site was proposed on the National Priorities List (NPL) in May 2000.
  • EPA continues to monitor the site to ensure there is no immediate threat to human health or the environment pending the start of long-term cleanup work.

Current Funding Status

  • As of April 2004, EPA has spent approximately $2.5 million to conduct the above cleanup work. However, work for the six waste disposal areas at the site was not funded in Fiscal Year 2004.
  • EPA has determined that this site does not pose an immediate threat to human health, and will continue to monitor this site for any changes that may trigger additional action. EPA will consider funding new work at this site in Fiscal Year 2005.

For more information on the projects at this site, please read the Mohawk Tannery Fact Sheet on the Region 1 Superfund Web site.

Key Accomplishments

  • EPA has expended approximately $2.5 million in response costs at the site.
  • Remedial investigation activities to characterize the nature and extent of contamination outside of the waste lagoon areas on the site are nearing completion.


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