State Reaches Agreement with AVX Corporation on Cleanup of Contaminated Property in New Bedford
AVX has agreed to clean up the long-contaminated Aerovox facility in New Bedford. The Aerovox site, a 10.3 acre property at 740 Belleville Avenue located on the Acushnet River, was for decades the location for a variety of manufacturing facilities until it closed in 2001. AVX is a corporate successor to Aerovox Corporation, which operated at the site from 1938 to 1973. The site is now owned by the City of New Bedford. The agreement is part of a multi-party effort to remove a blighted mill building from the city's waterfront and return the parcel to beneficial use.
"This agreement is a historic moment for New Bedford, allowing a dangerous and long-contaminated site to be turned into a safe and clean community asset," said AG Coakley. "We are delighted to have worked cooperatively with the City of New Bedford, MassDEP and the Environmental Protection Agency to achieve a comprehensive solution for this site."
"The demolition and removal of the heavily contaminated mill building and the site remediation is a big win for the city and its citizens," said MassDEP Deputy Commissioner Gary Moran. "This agreement will result in the removal of a threat to public health and safety and ready an underutilized waterfront property for potential redevelopment. MassDEP will continue to collaborate with all parties and the city to move this important project forward."
The Administrative Consent Order signed by AVX requires the corporation to assess and clean up the Aerovox property under the state's hazardous waste cleanup law, Chapter 21E, after AVX completes the removal of the 450,000 square foot former manufacturing building. The PCB cleanup is occurring under a separate agreement AVX has reached with the EPA. The total cost of the assessment and cleanup is estimated at $30 million.
MassDEP will oversee the Chapter 21E cleanup, which will require soil and groundwater remediation, site restrictions, and long-term monitoring to ensure that the contamination has been adequately addressed. The Aerovox facility is adjacent to, but not part of, the New Bedford Harbor Superfund Site. The cleanup of the Aerovox facility will occur separately from the harbor cleanup.
The project will allow the City of New Bedford to ready the site for redevelopment, which may include a greenway along the waterfront. The city of New Bedford, which took ownership of the property through a tax foreclosure, has reached a separate agreement with AVX that addresses site access during the cleanup process and long-term site operation and maintenance cost once the city has control of the property.
"This is the most important land based environmental remediation project in New Bedford. The entire citizenry will benefit for generations to come when the former Aerovox site is cleaned and redeveloped for public use," said City of New Bedford Mayor Scott W. Lang.
Assistant Attorney General Benjamin Ericson of Attorney General Coakley's Environmental Protection Division handled the case with MassDEP Southeast Region BWSC Compliance and Enforcement Section Chief Gerard Martin, MassDEP analyst Molly Cote, and MassDEP attorneys Lucas Rogers and Rebecca Tobin.