Settlement clears way for cleanup of Massachusetts superfund site

The Justice Department and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that a multi-party settlement involving the federal government will ensure that cleanup efforts proceed at the Shpack Landfill Superfund site in the towns of Norton and Attleboro, Massachusetts.

The defendants signing the agreement include: The City of Attleboro, Massachusetts; Avnet, Inc.; Bank of America N.A.; BASF Catalysts, LLC; Chevron Environmental Management Company; ConocoPhillips Co.; Handy & Harman; International Paper Co.; KIK Custom Products, Inc.; Town of Norton, Massachusetts; Swank, Inc.; Teknor Apex Co.; Texas Instruments, Inc.; and Waste Management of Massachusetts, Inc.

Under terms of a consent decree lodged in the United States District Court in Boston, the defendants will perform the remainder of the site-wide clean up of chemical wastes and other contaminants. The work is estimated to cost $29 million.

The site is contaminated with both chemical and radioactive wastes as a result of landfill operations at the site. In addition to performing cleanup work, the defendants will pay up to $2.9 million for the EPA’s costs. The United States Army Corps of Engineers is currently cleaning up the radioactive contamination, which is expected to be completed during the fall of 2010. While the Army Corps clean up continues, the defendants will perform design work, ecological studies and other activities. Once the radioactive soil cleanup is completed by the Army Corps, the defendants will move forward with the excavation of the remaining contaminated soils.

Under the terms of the settlement, the defendants have agreed to implement a September 2004 clean up decision for the site. Among other measures, the defendants will prepare design plans; excavate contaminated soil and sediment, with off-site disposal; restore wetlands; implement a surface, sediments and groundwater monitoring program; extend the public water supply line to two residences adjacent to the site; and place restrictions on uses of the site property and groundwater.

The Shpack Landfill is a 9.4 acre site located in Norton and Attleboro, Massachusetts. A portion of the site known as the Dumont parcel operated as a town dump from 1946 to 1965. The Shpack portion of the site received waste from 1946 to 1975. During its operation, the landfill received industrial and household waste including chemical and radioactive wastes.

In 1978, a citizen reported the disposal of radioactive items at the landfill. Subsequent site investigations revealed contaminants including volatile organic compounds, PCBs, heavy metals and radioactive wastes. EPA listed the Shpack Landfill on the Superfund “National Priorities List” in 1986. Remedial investigation work was conducted during the 1990s by some of the responsible parties.

The proposed consent decree, lodged in the United States District Court in Massachusetts, is subject to a 30-day comment period and final court approval.

The proposed consent decree is available for review online here.