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Release Date: 04/18/2000
Contact Information: Alice Kaufman, EPA Community Affairs Office, (617) 918-1064

Boston - The last truck carrying contaminated sediments dredged from New Bedford Harbor left the city last week for safe disposal in New York State, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced.

"This is clearly a milestone in the cleanup of New Bedford Harbor," said Mindy S. Lubber, EPA New England administrator. "With the last of the most contaminated sediment trucked out of New Bedford, EPA is readying the infrastructure needed to begin the dredging of the upper and lower harbor. We will be relocating the combined sewer overflow at the bottom of Sawyer Street this summer in preparation for construction this fall of the first confined disposal facility, which will store dredged material from the harbor."

In 1994 and 1995, sediments were dredged from the most heavily PCB-contaminated areas in the harbor. This area is referred to as the "hot spot" and consists of about five acres. The dredged materials were placed in a confined disposal facility (CDF) at the bottom of Sawyer Street in New Bedford.

Before disposal in New York State, excess water was pumped out of the sediment to facilitate shipment. The water was treated at an on-site treatment plant before final processing at New Bedford's Municipal Waste Water Treatment Plant. In all, some 2 million gallons were treated.

In the next phase, lime was mixed into the material until the sediment was dry enough for shipping. An excavator and small bulldozer removed and loaded the dried sediment into trucks. Foster Wheeler Environmental Corporation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, working under the supervision of EPA New England, ensured the smooth operations of each phase in the removal of the hot spot sediment from its interim storage. The sediment shipment involved about 850 trucks and concluded on schedule with yesterday's load.