$30 Million Cleanup Set for Massachusetts’ Superfund Landfill

BOSTON, Massachusetts, December 28, 2009 (ENS) – Cleanup of the 50 acre Sutton Brook Disposal Area Superfund Site in Tewksbury, Massachusetts will move forward under a new settlement worth more than $30 million, federal and state agencies have announced.

Waste disposal activities at the site, also known as Rocco’s Landfill, can be traced back to 1957. Until 1988, the landfill accepted municipal, commercial, and industrial wastes from both inside and outside of the Town of Tewksbury, including unknown quantities of hazardous substances.

Due to many violations and citations from state and local officials for violating Massachusetts Sanitary Landfill Regulations, the Commonwealth ordered the closure of the landfill in 1979. At the time of its closure, the landfill was accepting in excess of 250 tons of waste per day. Despite the closure order, landfill operations continued until 1982, when official landfill operations were suspended, yet waste acceptance continued through 1988.

The site was listed on EPA National Priorities List of Superfund sites in 2001 after state and federal site investigations revealed the presence of volatile organic compounds, semi-volatile organic compounds, pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls and inorganic substances in the soil, groundwater, surface water and sediments samples on and off the site.

Tewksbury, Massachusetts town center. (Photo by Ron Ploof)

Volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds were also found in air samples over the site.

The settlement agreement, lodged in federal court in Boston on December 22, resolves federal and state liability claims against 49 potentially responsible parties for the cleanup of the site, according to the Justice Department, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

Under the settlement, 20 of the parties will be responsible for implementation of the remedy selected by EPA in 2007. These parties will also pay for the state’s past response costs, oversight costs incurred by EPA and MassDEP, as well as $1.65 million to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the state for natural resource damages claims stemming from injuries to groundwater and wetlands.

The remaining settling parties are required to make payments to two trusts to be used to perform the cleanup at the site and to pay for response costs.

The selected remedy includes excavation and consolidation of contaminated soils and sediments, construction of a multi-layered impermeable cap, capture and treatment of contaminated groundwater, institutional controls and long term monitoring.

The total estimated cost for the selected remedy is estimated to be $29.9 million.

The 20 defendants responsible for performing the cleanup include:

Ausimont Industries Inc.; BASF Corporation; Boston and Maine Corporation; Browning-Ferris Industries Inc.; Allied Waste Systems Inc.; BFI Waste Systems of North America LLC; BTU International Inc.; E.I. DuPont De Nemours and Co.; Honeywell International Inc.; Mallinckrodt LLC; M/A-COM Inc.; Raytheon Company; Sears, Roebuck and Co.; Textron Systems Corp.; Town of Tewksbury, Verizon New England Inc.; Waste Management of Massachusetts Inc.; Waste Management Disposal Services of Massachusetts Inc.; Waste Management of New Hampshire Inc. and Zeneca, Inc.

The consent decree, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court.

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