LOCATION OF INJURYTyngsboro and Dunstable, MA
DATE OF INJURY1967 thru completion of Remedy
NRD SETTLEMENT FUNDS AVAILABLEAs of August 2008: $100,000 non-committed
RESPONSIBLE PARTYLandfill owners, waste generators and transporters
NATURAL RESOURCE TRUSTEESMA Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA)
United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS),
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
RELEASE OF HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCESHeavy metals, volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
INJURED RESOURCESGroundwater, wetlands, migratory birds, migratory fish
RESTORATION STATUSFinal Restoration Plan / Environmental Assessment completed in 2002
Restoration projects completed and ongoing
ADDITIONAL RESOURCESCharles George Reclamation Trust Landfill Superfund Site


Charles George NRD Case Settlement

In 1992 the State and Federal Trustees settled natural resource damage claims with the potentially responsible parties at the Charles George Reclamation Trust Landfill Superfund Site. The total recovery of damages and future oversight expenses for all the Trustees was $1,353,440.

Natural Resource Trustees

The Charles George Natural Resources Trustee Council includes the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

A Memorandum of Agreement among the three Trustees outlined a framework for the cooperative development and implementation of a single plan to restore injured natural resources. In addition to the three Trustee representatives, the MOA also provided for the inclusion of ex-officio, or non-voting members on the Trustee Council. In the case of the Charles George Natural Resources Trustee Council, the ex-officio members included technical and legal advisors from the state and federal agencies, a citizen from the Town of Tyngsborough, a representative from the Town of Tyngsborough Conservation Commission, and a representative from the Merrimack River Watershed Council

Site History

The 60 acre Charles George Reclamation Trust Landfill is an inactive landfill located in the Towns of Tyngsborough and Dunstable. Beginning in 1955, the landfill was used for the disposal of municipal wastes. Both household and industrial wastes were accepted from 1967 to 1976. The facility had a license to accept hazardous waste from 1973 to 1976 and primarily accepted drummed and bulk chemicals containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and toxic metal sludges. In 1982, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and heavy metals were detected in the drinking water supply wells of the Cannongate condominium complex located approximately 800 feet southwest of the site. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heavy metals were also detected in soils and sediments around the site. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts ordered closure of the site in 1983 and, that same year, the landfill was listed as a Superfund Site.

Remedial activities included capping of the landfill and installation of collection and treatment for landfill leachate and gasses, extraction and treatment of contaminated groundwater, and extension of public water supply to address contamination of drinking water wells. An on- and off-site ground water monitoring program has been in place since 1992 and will continue until ground water cleanup goals have been met.

Injured Natural Resources

The Site is bordered by the 16-acre Flint Pond Marsh and 61-acre Flint Pond to the east and Dunstable Brook and several of its small tributaries to the west. Two dams control the water levels of Flint Pond. A short distance below the second dam the outlet stream of Flint Pond flows into the Merrimack River.

High levels of inorganic contaminants have been found in groundwater, including arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, cyanide, lead, mercury, nickel, silver, and zinc. High levels of chromium and zinc were detected in surface waters of the brooks and wetlands adjacent to the landfill and Flint Pond. Elevated levels of arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, mercury, and zinc were measured in the sediments of Dunstable Brook and associated wetlands. Organic contaminants, particularly polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), were also detected at elevated levels in the sediments of the Dunstable Brook system.

The primary injuries resulting from contamination at the Site involve the impairment of groundwater, wetland, and fishery resources. The Massachusetts EEA made a claim on behalf of injuries to groundwater and wetlands. Groundwater contamination had made the aquifer unsuitable as a source of water for residential and non-residential users. As a result, present and future water users would be forced to develop alternate water supply systems. Wetlands were injured due to contamination and physical alteration during the capping and remediation of the landfill. The USFWS settlement regarding wetlands referred specifically to the resulting loss of habitat services to wetland-dependent migratory birds, specifically, the effects of heavy metals and PAHs on migratory birds utilizing the contaminated Flint Pond Marsh. The primary issue raised by NOAA regarded the potential migration of contaminants through Flint Pond to the Merrimack River, which supports runs of anadromous and catadromous fish.

Restoration Planning and Projects

The Trustees developed a Restoration Plan in 2002 outlining use of the NRD settlement funds to compensate for natural resources injured at the landfill. The Trustees' objective is to compensate for impacts to groundwater, wetlands, migratory birds that use wetland habitat, and migratory fish in the Merrimack River. The Trustees evaluated several habitat restoration projects and proposed several  restoration actions to compensate for impacts to wetland resources, groundwater, habitat, and potential impacts to migratory fish.

Restoration projects implemented to date are:

  • In 2004, the Trustees provided $1.2 million to the Massachusetts Division of Fish and Wildlife to purchase and permanently protect 130 acres of wildlife habitat in Tyngsboro and Dunstable.  Located across the road from the Charles-George Landfill,  Dunstable Brook runs through the property, creating some emergent marsh and wet meadow habitat. Because of the patchiness of the habitat on this property, it is expected to provide habitat for an exceptional diversity of songbirds. It also provides habitat for upland game birds like ruffed grouse and American woodcock. The property also likely provides habitat for white-tailed deer (particularly for grazing), eastern cottontail, numerous small mammals, and hunting areas for fox and coyote. 
  • In 2007, the Trustees provided $625,000 to the Massachusetts Division of Fish and Wildlife for the  purchase and permanent protection of  a 76-acre parcel on Scribner Road in Tyngsborough, located on the Dunstable town line. This property, consisting of forests and wetlands, is adjacent to s conservation land already owned by the Town of Dunstable and the Massachusetts Division of Fish and Wildlife to the west and north.. With the purchase of this property, a contiguous block of approximately 180 acres will be protected.  The Trustee funds were matched by an additional $70,000 from the Massachusetts Highway Department Route 3 Mitigation fund. 
  • In addition, the Trustees have contributed to the anadromous fish restoration effort in the Merrimack River through a project to stock and monitor herring and shad in the Concord River.

The Public's Role

The Draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment (RP/EA) describing potential projects to restore natural resources injured as a result of chemical contamination at the Charles George Reclamation Landfill Superfund Site was released for public review in December of 2001. Following public comment, in 2002 the Trustee Council released the Final RP/EA describing the Trustees' selected action to restore natural resources.

Charles George NRD Trustee Contacts

MA Department of Environmental Protection
Karen Pelto

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Molly Sperduto

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Ken Finkelstein