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EPA to Clean Up Aerovox Shoreline

Release Date: 05/06/2008
Contact Information: Jeanethe Falvey, 617.918.1020

(Boston, Mass. – May 6, 2008) During this May and June, EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be excavating contaminated sediment along the shoreline at the vacant Aerovox plant as part of the ongoing cleanup of New Bedford Harbor. This cleanup effort is expected to last for six to eight weeks.

The area of the shoreline to be excavated extends approximately 100 feet out into the river directly along the shoreline of the vacant Aerovox building and is known to contain high levels of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and solvents. Once excavated, the sediment will be stabilized with Portland cement and transported to EPA’s facility at the end of Sawyer Street for temporary storage.

Contaminated sediment will be handled with extreme care and the cleanup process will be fully protective of the health of nearby residents. Operational activities for this cleanup include the construction of temporary docks to allow excavation equipment to access targeted shoreline sediment. Upon excavation, sediment material will immediately be placed into water-tight containers. As those containers become half-full they will be moved inside a temporary, enclosed structure that will be built on-site. Inside that structure, the contaminated sediment will be mixed and stabilized with cement in preparation for transportation to Sawyer Street. During mixing operations the interior of the enclosed facility will be under negative pressure allowing EPA to collect and treat any gases that may be released from the sediment. After mixing, the resulting stable and hardened material will remain in the sealed containers as they are transported by licensed trucks to EPA’s sediment storage facility at Sawyer Street where they will be safely covered.

Dock construction and other preparation activities will be underway to ready the site for cleanup through May. Because of their very close proximity to and potential for direct contact with the contaminated sediment, crews in the immediate work zone will be wearing protective clothing and supplied air.

Due to the nature of the operation and its short duration, EPA does not expect any negative impacts to the air quality of surrounding neighborhoods as a result of this cleanup effort. However, for routine precaution and for the nearby communities to be assured of their safety, air monitoring will be performed at the following locations: directly within the work zone, at the western edge of the Aerovox facility along Belleville Avenue and at a downwind location that will be determined based on current wind conditions.

To further protect the health of you and your family, please respect posted signs and work crews for the duration of the cleanup.

More information:

- EPA’s New Bedford harbor cleanup (including the vacant Aerovox plant)

- EPA information on solvents

- EPA information on PCBs


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