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Release Date: 12/15/2000
Contact Information: Alice Kaufman, EPA Community Affairs Office, (617) 918-1064 David Lederer, US EPA Project Manager (617-918-1325

Boston - Construction of cleanup technologies is now complete at the Sullivan's Ledge Superfund Site in New Bedford, MA, the New England Office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MA DEP) today. The project included construction of a groundwater collection and treatment system, construction of a 12-acre disposal area where excavated contaminated sediments and soils were placed under an impermeable cap, and the restoration of wetlands disturbed by the cleanup.

"This saga illustrates the importance of adequate funding for EPA so communities can receive relief from inherited environmental problems more quickly than has happened in this case," said Congressman Barney Frank. "I appreciate EPA's efforts and its response to some of the communities' concerns and I will continue to work to encourage the federal government's ability to deal promptly and responsively with problems of this sort."

"This closes a chapter of the book on one of EPA's oldest Superfund sites, and offers a brighter future for New Bedford," said Mindy S. Lubber, EPA New England's regional administrator. "The working partnerships that developed over the years proved invaluable to getting us where we are today."

"Our mission is protecting public health and the environment. This mission is served best when government and the private sector work together," said MA DEP Commissioner Lauren A. Liss. "The cooperation among the public and private parties working on this site has made it possible to complete construction ahead of schedule with a significant cost savings – and have made Massachusetts a better place to live."

New Bedford Mayor Frederick M. Kalisz acknowledged the contribution of the EPA for their efforts in completing the project, "The city of New Bedford appreciates the role EPA played in managing the project, specifically Dave Lederer, EPA project manager, for uniting all the involved parties."

This is the result of a three year collaborative effort involving two groups of "Potentially Responsible Parties" or "PRPs," the city of New Bedford, the EPA, and the MA DEP. The PRP Groups hired Larding Lawson Associates, a national construction firm, headquartered in Denver. Colorado, to do the work.

The Sullivan's Ledge Superfund Site was formerly operated as a 150 foot deep quarry. Between the 1930s and the 1970s, the quarry pits and adjacent areas were used for the disposal of industrial and solid wastes. Over the years, an unnamed stream carried contaminants, primarily polychlorinated biphenyls or ("PCBs"), across Hathaway Road to the wetland areas of the golf course. Also, high levels of groundwater contamination, primarily solvents and poly-aromatic hydrocarbons or "PAHs" spread from the old quarry area underground to the northeast.

Construction of the first phase of the cleanup began in 1998. The work focused on the construction of a groundwater collection and treatment system, as well as the excavation of contaminated soils on and near the site and sediments from the unnamed stream and their placement under a landfill cap on-site. A groundwater collection system was built to halt the spread of contamination from the old quarry underground. A groundwater treatment plant was built to treat the collected groundwater before discharging it to the municipal sewer system. The treatment plant has been operating since late-1999 and has treated millions of gallons of contaminated groundwater. The city of New Bedford's Department of Public Works is successfully operating and maintaining the treatment plant.

The second phase of construction which began in 1999 involved the cleanup of approximately seven acres of contaminated wetlands in the golf course. The contaminated sediments removed from these areas were dewatered and hauled for disposal under the cap constructed over the old quarry area south of Hathaway Road. Wetlands disturbed during the cleanup are being replanted to restore them to natural conditions.

The Sullivan's Ledge Site is a 12-acre parcel located in the city of New Bedford in Bristol County in southeastern Massachusetts. The site is bounded on the north by Hathaway Road, on the south by the Interstate 195/Route 140 Interchange and on the east and west by commercial development. Immediately north of the site, is the New Bedford Municipal Golf Course.