In The Works
In The Works is a monthly newsletter providing Environment, Health and Safety (EH&S) news and regulatory updates. The newsletter is provided by Loureiro Engineering Associates, Inc. of Plainville, Connecticut.
EPA Continues to Ensure Public Health Protection at Superfund Sites
EPA Region I has begun reviewing site cleanups at 12 National Priorities List Sites (Superfund Sites) including two Federal Facilities, across New England by performing required Five-Year Reviews of each site. The Superfund program, a federal program established by Congress in 1980, investigates and cleans up the most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country and endeavors to return them to productive use.
Throughout the superfund process of designing and constructing cleanup remedies for hazardous waste sites, EPA's first goal is to make sure remedies will be protective of public health and the environment. Then, once a remedy or portion of a remedy has begun, EPA continues to ensure protectiveness by requiring comprehensive review of the cleanup every five years. It is important for EPA to regularly review progress to ensure the remedy is working properly to clean up the site. In addition to extensive review of the remedy itself, its engineering, and its overall functionality, EPA may also look at outside variables that could potentially affect the performance of the remedy, such as redevelopment, impacts from storms or flooding, and overall wear and tear. Five-year review evaluations identify any issues and, if called for, recommend action(s) necessary to address them.
EPA is actively involved in Superfund studies and cleanups at 123 sites across New England. There are many phases of the Superfund cleanup process including planning for future use and redevelopment at sites and post cleanup monitoring of sites. EPA must ensure the remedy is protective of public health and the environment and any redevelopment will uphold the protectiveness of the remedy into the future.
This year, EPA will review remedies at sites like the Hanscom Air Force Base, where military use of the site resulted in contamination of groundwater and subsurface soil. Hanscom Airforce Base is still an active military base, where the Electronic Systems Center for the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. allies is located. It is also the home to the L.G. Hanscom Field a civilian airport operated by the Massachusetts Port Authority.
EPA will also conduct a comprehensive review of the ongoing cleanup at the Auburn Road Landfill Superfund Site in Londonderry New Hampshire. The site operated from the 1960s until 1980 as a disposal area for chemical wastes, tires, demolition debris and solid waste. Cleanup at the site has included the extension of a public water supply line to residents impacted by the site, as well as the construction of impermeable caps for the three landfills at the site. Cleanup and monitoring of contaminated groundwater at the site is still ongoing, but parts of the site that have been capped and cleaned up are now being used recreationally as a model airplane flying field. This was the result of collaboration between EPA the New Hampshire flying Tigers Academy of Model Aeronautics and the Town of Londonderry.
The New England Superfund Sites where EPA will begin Five Year Reviews in Fiscal Year 2017 are listed below. The web links provide detailed information on site status and past assessment and cleanup activity. Once the Five Year Review is complete, a report of its findings will be posted to this website. The web links also provide contact information for the EPA Project Manager and Community Involvement Coordinator at each site. Community members and local officials are invited to contact EPA with any comments or concerns about a Superfund Site or the conclusions in the recent Five Year Review.
Gallups Quarry - www.epa.gov/superfund/gallup
Kellogg-Deering - www.epa.gov/superfund/kellogg
O'Connor - www.epa.gov/superfund/oconnor
Union Chemical - www.epa.gov/superfund/union
Winthrop Landfill - www.epa.gov/superfund/winthrop
Hanscom Air Force Base - www.epa.gov/superfund/hanscom
Natick Laboratory Army Research, Development and Engineering Center - www.epa.gov/superfund/naticklab
Shpack - www.epa.gov/superfund/shpack
Auburn - www.epa.gov/superfund/auburnroad
Beede Waste Oil - www.epa.gov/superfund/beede
Fletcher's Paint Works & Storage - www.epa.gov/superfund/fletcher
Peterson Puritan - www.epa.gov/superfund/peterson
Massachusetts Governor Issues Order to Reduce Carbon Emissions, Protect Residents and Municipalities, Build More Resilient Commonwealth
Building on the Baker-Polito Administration’s leadership to mitigate and adapt to climate change, Governor Baker recently signed an Executive Order of Climate Change Strategy which lays out a comprehensive approach to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions, safeguard residents, municipalities and businesses from the impacts of climate change, and build a more resilient Commonwealth. The Order, Establishing an Integrated Climate Change Strategy for the Commonwealth, represents the collaboration between the Office of the Governor, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, and key state, local and environmental stakeholders.
“Combatting and preparing for the impacts of climate change will require a holistic approach across state and local government and collaboration with stakeholders from all corners of the Commonwealth,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “By signing this Executive Order, our administration is taking an important step to protect public health and safety, local infrastructure, small businesses, and our state’s abundant natural resources from the effects of climate change.”
“Cities and towns across Massachusetts are on the front lines of climate change and our administration stands ready to help them meet this challenge,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Building on our administration’s commitment to municipalities through the Community Compact and Green Communities programs, the Executive Order signed by Governor Baker continues to enhance strong state and local partnerships, and provides direct support and technical assistance to help cities and towns adapt to climate change.”
“The Baker-Polito Administration, in addition to cities and towns across Massachusetts, continues to reduce carbon emissions and prepare for the impacts of climate change,” said Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matthew Beaton. “This Executive Order builds on those innovative efforts to ensure the Commonwealth is collaborating in a proactive, strategic manner across state government and with our local partners and stakeholders to address this challenge.”
The Executive Order ensures that Massachusetts will continue to lead by example and collaborate across state government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build resiliency within government operations. The Order also directs the Executive Offices of Energy and Environmental Affairs and Public Safety and Security to lead the development and implementation of a statewide comprehensive climate adaptation plan that will provide a blueprint for protecting the built and natural environment of the Commonwealth, based on the best available data on existing and projected climate change impacts. Additionally, each Executive Office within the Baker-Polito Administration will be required to designate a Climate Change Coordinator who will work to complete a vulnerability assessment for each office, and assist with implementation and coordination of adaptation and mitigation efforts across state government.
Recognizing the need to strengthen the resilience of communities throughout Massachusetts, the Executive Order directs the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security to coordinate assistance to cities and towns as they prepare for the impacts of climate change.
“Communities are currently dealing with the impacts of a historic drought and the effects of extreme weather events,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Security Daniel Bennett. “This Order will enhance state and local collaboration, helping communities to more quickly recover from violent storms and extreme weather.”
To further position Massachusetts to meet the state’s environmental requirements under the Global Warming Solutions Act, the Executive Order directs the Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) to engage stakeholders, examine emission limits from a range of sectors, and outline a timeline to promulgate regulations to ensure the Commonwealth meets statewide carbon reduction targets. In addition, the Baker-Polito Administration will work with state and regional transportation leaders, and environment and energy agencies to outline additional steps necessary to develop regional policies to reduce transportation sector emissions. The work will be concurrent with efforts to continue to lead on reform of regional electric energy markets so that power generators can all compete to meet the state mandates for clean energy. The state will also complete a comprehensive energy plan that will enable forward-looking analysis of energy demands and strategies for meeting these demands that include conservation, energy efficiency and other demand-reduction resources.
The Executive Order, which will be reviewed again in 2019 and every five years thereafter, builds upon significant efforts already ongoing across the Baker-Polito Administration to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Initiatives and programs underway across state government include vulnerability assessments and resiliency plans within the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance, Department of Transportation, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, Division of Fisheries & Wildlife, and MassPort. To address mitigation, the Commonwealth has been working since 2008 to implement the Global Warming Solutions Act, and has numerous policies and initiatives in place to help meet emissions reduction limits. Other existing initiatives and grant programs include the Dam and Seawall Repair Fund, the Coastal Resiliency Grant Program, the Lead by Example Program, the Community Clean Energy Resiliency Initiative. Climate change initiatives are also currently underway at regional planning agencies and in inland and coastal communities across Massachusetts.