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EPA to Begin Cleanup at East Bridgewater Site

Release Date: 08/24/2000
Contact Information: Alice Kaufman, EPA Community Affairs Office, (617) 918-1064

Boston - EPA New England has allocated $500,000 to clean an industrial/residential area in East Bridgewater, Mass., where arsenic, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and lead have been identified in soils. The 8-acre site includes the former Eastern States Steel and Precise Engineering facilities, and the former Old Colony Railroad tracks.

EPA took more than 130 soil samples beginning in the fall of last year after a request from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection for assistance.

"The chemicals found at this site could pose a health threat if children or others come in contact with them," said Mindy Lubber, EPA New England administrator. "The EPA is doing everything it can to reduce the potential for exposure by securing the site and providing a protective layer of clean soil."

PCBs have been documented to cause a skin rash similar to acne, and are suspected to cause cancer. The production of PCBs has been banned for decades. Lead, when ingested or inhaled can damage the central nervous system and is particularly harmful to children. Arsenic is a human poison for which there has been documented health effects ranging from throat and lung irritation to damage to tissues and nerves.

A rusty chain-link fence around the property provides inadequate security for neighborhood children that may trespass the site. A new 8-foot chain-link will be put in place as well as warning signs alerting passers-by to the dangers at the site. EPA will then excavate some of the most highly contaminated soils and safely secure other areas with a protective layer of manmade materials and/or soils.

Work is expected to begin next week and take approximately three months to complete.