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Nyanza Chemical Waste Dump
Ashland, Massachusetts

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Site Description

The Nyanza Chemical Waste Dump site is a 35-acre parcel of land located next to an active industrial complex.  From 1917 to 1978, the site was used to produce textile dyes, intermediates, and other products.  Nyanza Inc. operated on the property from 1965 until 1978 when it ceased operations. The companies that operated on the site generated large volumes of industrial wastewater containing high levels of acids and numerous organic and inorganic chemicals, including mercury. Some of the wastes were partially treated and discharged into the Sudbury River through a small stream, Chemical Brook. Over 45,000 tons of chemical sludges generated by Nyanza's wastewater treatment processes, along with spent solvents and other chemical wastes, were buried on site. Approximately 10,000 people live within 3 miles of the site.

Current Site Status and Cleanup Actions to Date

  • The landfill for the consolidation of over 65,000 cubic yards of contaminated materials on the site was capped and completed in 1992.
  • Cleanup and restoration of the wetlands adjacent to the source area and the draining areas to the river was completed in 2001. Over 45,000 cubic yards of mercury-contaminated sediments were consolidated into the same onsite landfill in which the contaminated materials were consolidated. 
  • A remedial investigation/feasibility study (RI/FS) for the mercury contaminated sediments in a 26-mile stretch of the Sudbury River is ongoing. EPA hopes to propose a cleanup plan for these sediments by the end of 2008.  An advisory, which includes posted signs, is in place warning people not to fish in affected areas of the river.
  • The interim ground water remedy includes two phases.  The first phase is designed to address potential vapor intrusion from ground water contaminated with volatile organic compounds.  Forty-three sub-slab depressurization systems were installed during 2007 as part of this initial phase; final testing of these systems is underway.
  • The second phase of the interim ground water remedy, funded in 2007, involves addressing dense non-aqueous phase liquid (DNAPL) that may be an ongoing source of contamination to the ground water plume. 
  • The site has extensive community involvement; EPA holds regular public meetings to keep the community informed about the progress of cleanup work at the site.  EPA continues to work with the landowner and local officials on potential redevelopment proposals, as they arise, for the site property and adjacent parcels.

Current Funding Status

  • EPA obligated approximately $2.5 million dollars in Fiscal Year 2007 for construction and operation of the second phase of the ground water remedy.
  • EPA has spent over $36 million on construction to date.

For more information on this site, please read the Nyanza Chemical Waste Dump Fact Sheet on the Region 1 Superfund web site.

Key Accomplishments

  • Listed on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1983.

  • Over 65,000 cubic yards of contaminated materials and another 45,000 cubic yards of mercury-contaminated sediments have been consolidated.

  • A fish advisory is in place to keep people from eating fish caught in portions of the Sudbury River affected by mercury-contaminated sediments.

  • EPA holds regular public meetings to keep the community informed about the progress of cleanup at the site.


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