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Approval gained to build on Massachusetts' South Street superfund site.

After a 30-year quagmire, Walpole is making progress with cleanup plans for the asbestos contaminated former industrial site on South Street.

At a recent joint meeting, Selectmen and members of the Economic Development and Industrial Corporation approved a layout for a new police station and senior center on the contaminated site, agreeing to move forward in acquiring and cleaning the land for future town use.

Utilizing land both east and west of South Street, the plan incorporates the two buildings, ample parking space, a water treatment facility and a memorial marking the old mill building.

With input from those responsible for funding the cleanup, abutters to the contaminated site, the EPA and the town, the plan was agreed upon and lauded as a big step forward after many years of static.

The contaminated land was named a Superfund National Priority site, contaminated land the government deems important to clean, in 1994 by the EPA because of its former use as home to rubber tire and insulation factories. The soil and groundwater at the site were contaminated with asbestos--a byproduct of the factory functions.

After fighting for cleanup and cooperation for many years, town officials now say a clean and safe solution is in sight.

"For the first time, we can see an endgame," Selectman Cliff Snuffer said. "That's critical." The plan, drawn up by the environmental engineering firm Fuss and O'Neill, puts a two-floor police station and one-floor senior center on the east side of South Street, with the police station parallel to the road on the northern part of the lot and the senior center perpendicular to the road on the southern part of the lot. The groundwater treatment facility, which will process and clean the site's contaminated groundwater as regulated by the EPA, is placed on the southwest side of South Street, near an area of the worst contamination.

In the past the companies paying for the cleanup refused to knock down the old mill building on the west side of the lot, which officials suspect is heavily contaminated, because it was not required of them. Now, for the first time, David Fuss said the companies are willing to discuss the option.

Source: Brittney McNamara, Wicked Local Walpole

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Publication:Hazardous Waste Superfund Alert
Date:Dec 11, 2013
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