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Release Date: 07/10/1998
Contact Information: Leo Kay, Press Office (617-918-4154)

BOSTON -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency received $10 million in federal Superfund dollars today to continue the cleanup of mercury contamination in and around the Nyanza Chemical Waste Dump Superfund Site in Ashland, Mass.

The EPA will use the funding to excavate mercury contaminated sediment from wetlands and drainage-ways between the former Nyanza, Inc. Property on Megunko Road and the Sudbury River. The wastes will be buried in an on-site landfill that was constructed in 1992. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts will fund 10 percent of the cleanup costs, and 100 percent of the operation and maintenance costs once the cleanup is completed.

The EPA also received $50,000 to conduct a second five-year review of the site that will consist of an analysis of the protectiveness of the earlier cleanup actions, the existing conditions at the site, and the need for land use restrictions on portions of the site. The first five-year review was completed in 1993.

"This good news is a double play for the citizens of Ashland," said Mindy S. Lubber, deputy administrator of the EPA's New England Office. "The $50,000 starts an immediate review of the work already competed and assures the local community that our earlier construction continues to do the job protecting public health and the environment in Ashland. The $10 million will restart an aggressive cleanup next spring to eliminate contamination from the streams and wetlands that continue to leach mercury into the Sudbury river."

Mercury contaminated sediments will be removed from four interconnected areas: the Eastern Wetland, Trolley Brook, Outfall Creek, and the Lower Raceway. Wetland areas will be restored as part of the cleanup plan.

Excavation and construction will be conducted through an agreement between the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers in conjunction with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. Construction is scheduled to start in the spring, and should be completed in two years.

The Nyanza Chemical Waste Dump Superfund Site is comprised of the 35-acre former Nyanza, Inc. Property, drainage-ways between the property and the Sudbury River, and a 33-mile stretch of the river. Due to the complexity of contamination discovered at the site, cleanup activities have been divided into four phases. The $10 million will be used to complete the third phase of the cleanup, which consists of the wetlands and drainage-ways between the Nyanza Inc. Property and the Sudbury River.

Cleanup activities for the first phase, including the Nyanza, Inc. Property and several adjacent areas, were completed in 1992 with the construction of a landfill on site. The second cleanup phase includes a groundwater plume of contamination that extends from the property in a northerly direction toward the Sudbury River. The EPA is collecting additional data and will examine options for treating the groundwater that is not used as a drinking water source.

The fourth phase includes a 33- mile stretch of the Sudbury River where sediment and fish are contaminated with mercury. The EPA is currently assessing the risk posed by mercury in the river. A final proposed cleanup plan will be available for public comment in the spring of 1999.