Metals Superfund site slated for remediation
A new agreement will set the stage for more
work to occur at a Concord, Massachusetts Superfund site, including
the demolition of contaminated buildings which are unsound and
need to be removed.
The agreement, an Administrative Settlement Agreement between
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Army, U.S. Department
of Energy, Textron, Inc. and Whittaker Corporation, outlines
responsibilities for $70 million for performance of a non-time
critical removal action at the Nuclear Metals, Inc. Superfund
From 1958 to the present, various owners and operators used the
Concord site for research and specialized metals manufacturing,
and were licensed to possess low-level radioactive substances.
Between 1958 and 1985, the owner/operators disposed of waste,
contaminated with depleted uranium, copper and nitric acid, into
an unlined holding basin located at the site. Other areas of
the site were also used for the disposal of manufacturing wastes.
Starmet operated under the company name Nuclear Metals from 1972
until 1997, when it changed its name to Starmet Corporation.
While no longer permitted to use radioactive materials in manufacturing,
Starmet continues to maintain a license to possess radioactive
materials at the site. Starmet and a related company continue
to employ a small staff at the site, and provide site security
and building maintenance. It is anticipated that Starmet will
permanently vacate the facility in the near future.
The site currently includes multiple structures with a combined
footprint of approximately 185,000 square feet, including a two-story,
five-section interconnected building, several tank houses, storage
huts and storage buildings. The buildings, nearly 50 years old
and in poor condition, are deteriorating and have multiple leaks,
and are contaminated with high levels of depleted uranium.
Demolition of the buildings will occur down to their slab foundation,
with placement of a temporary cap over the remaining slab. Construction
debris will either be disposed off-site at an appropriately-licensed
disposal facility or potentially on-site, if EPA determines that
such debris does not contain hazardous substances.
With ongoing attention and work, EPA and Mass DEP have significantly
reduced the threat of release of hazardous substances posed by
the facility and the site. EPA has performed two time-critical
removal actions: first in 2002, EPA covered the holding basin
and an old landfill on site, and erected a fence around the site;
the second in 2008, removed containers of hazardous and flammable
materials from the facility buildings. Mass DEP, with U.S. Army
Funding, removed more than 3,800 drums of depleted uranium in
2006. EPA expects to issue a Record of Decision for the site
within the next 16 months.