Superfund site remediation should begin soon
TEWKSBURY— A ‘mini-trucking effort’ slated to begin the Sutton Brook Superfund site capping last September was hampered in part by a disagreement with Krochmal Farm, which abuts the former dump. The farm raised concerns about detritus from the dump spilling onto access roads – owned by the farm but needed by the EPA for site access. A recent agreement between the farm and the EPA, though, means trucks will start rolling through Tewksbury this spring.
Exactly when the clean up begins, though, remains unclear. Don McElroy, the EPA project manager assigned to direct the Sutton Brook site, said that everything right now is in “real time.”
“I expect to have a black and white answer…within a week and a half, maybe two weeks on the outside,” said McElroy.
The Sutton Brook Superfund site located off South Street, formerly Rocco’s Landfill, operated from 1957 until 1988. Drums and contaminated soil were removed from the site from 2000 through 2002. Crews conducted site investigations and remedy evaluations from 2004 through 2007. The remedial design project began in 2010 and was completed in 2013. At a presentation in June 2013, McElroy detailed plans to finally cap the site, beginning with an initial effort in September 2013.
Initial EPA plans indicated excavation would have begun in fall 2013, a southern lobe vertical barrier would be in-place by 2014, and a northern lobe vertical barrier would complete the project in 2015. That timeline is off, due to the delays, but how far off is not yet known. In an email to the Town Crier last fall, McElroy stated that the project aims to catch up by the end of 2014.
Access issues to the site delayed typical planning procedures for about six months. In big construction projects, officials reach out to “a number of subcontractors and rent” equipment and other materials. This process, McElroy said, was sidetracked since the EPA could not get to the site.
“I don’t expect that planning process to go on forever by any stretch,” he said.
One of the access points to the site ran through Krochmal Farm, and Jenny Nagle, one of the owners, explained that the farm wanted the EPA to agree to clean the road that runs from South Street through the property. Nagle says trash from the landfill often toppled onto the access road, which also affords the farm access to pastures on Wilmington land.
“We went back and forth with them for quite a while,” said Nagle.
Ultimately, cleaning up the road wasn’t within the scope of work the EPA could perform. So, three weeks ago, Krochmal gave them access.
“We want the cap done just as much as everyone else,” she said.
McElroy mentioned concerns about truck traffic, and, recalling the meeting about the cleanup that was held last summer, he said that they’re going to send out notifications about the project.
“I still anticipate that happening,” he said. “I envision that we’ll work with the town.” He said they would put notices online as well.
“We’ll be working to get messages out, essentially in real time,” he said. “That has not been forgotten about.”
“Activities won’t start by surprise,” he added.
The haul route, announced last June, has trucks transporting fill and materials via the Dascomb Road exit from I-93, down Shawsheen Street, to Bridge Street, and South Street to the site.
These streets were selected because permitting is not required, the route won’t require any geometric or pavement improvements, and allow repair of any road damage after the project is finished. Using existing roads, rather than building a temporary ramp to the highway, also presents the least expensive option.
Remediation efforts will be completely funded by the group of potentially responsible parties (PRPs) already established. That group includes the Town of Tewksbury. The estimated cost of the remediation is $30 million, however costs in excess of that figure will still be covered by the PRPs, according to McElroy.
The project will require up to 275,000 cubic yards of fill soil and 15,000 truck trips. Some contaminated soils may be used in the capping, said Don McElroy, the project manager. Those soils will be tested prior to being loaded on trucks and the trucks will be covered during transit. Further, trucks will have their wheels washed before driving back on public streets after leaving the contaminated site.
McElroy estimated that, once the project is in full swing, residents can expect 100-truck trips estimated daily during the height of the project, during workday hours, in the summers of 2014 and 2015.
An extraction well will also be constructed to allow extraction of contaminated groundwater from the site and sent into the sewer system for treatment at the Lowell Wastewater Treatment Plant.
The landfill cap will prevent storm water from going through the contaminated landfill and has numerous structural requirements.