Governor Patrick Announces Federal Stimulus Funding for New Bedford Harbor Cleanup
$25 million to $35 million will speed restoration of the Commonwealth's largest Superfund site
- one of the state's largest Superfund sites - and to assist with cleanup activities at two other Massachusetts sites.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson traveled to New Bedford for the Obama Administration's announcement of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding for Superfund environmental cleanup projects nationwide. Governor Patrick joined her for the announcement at the dewatering facility adjacent to the Harbor. Nationally, ARRA grants are providing $600 million to clean up and restore polluted sites across the country - stimulating economic recovery through jobs associated with cleanup activities and by rendering former Superfund sites suitable for future economic development and recreational use.
"Superfund is just one of the ways Massachusetts and the EPA are working together to create a cleaner, healthier environment for today and tomorrow, and the funding announced today will go a long way toward making that happen," said Governor Patrick.
"Governor Patrick is working hard to make Massachusetts a leader in green jobs and environmental stewardship," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "In these challenging economic times, he's advocated tirelessly for communities across Massachusetts that can create jobs by protecting human health and the environment."
Bordering New Bedford as well as the towns of Acushnet, Fairhaven and Dartmouth, the New Bedford Harbor Superfund site comprises 1,000 acres of land and 17,000 acres in Buzzards Bay. Beginning in the 1800s, the site was polluted with industrial contaminants - primarily highly toxic polychlorinated byphenyls (PCBs), which were discharged from the 1940s until the 1970s when the US banned their use. Cleanup of New Bedford Harbor - funded 90 percent by EPA and 10 percent by the Commonwealth - began in 1995 and has so far resulted in the removal of 155,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment at a cost of $200 million.
When cleanup is complete, the total cost is expected to reach $750 million - making it the largest EPA-funded Superfund site in Massachusetts and the second largest cleanup overall (cleanup of groundwater contamination at the Massachusetts Military Reservation is funded by the US Department of Defense).
The AARA grant announced today will accelerate the dredging of New Bedford Harbor, more than tripling the volume of contaminated sediments that will be removed over the next two years and facilitating the city of New Bedford's plans to develop shoreline public access, recreational boating and competitive rowing programs, and to restore wetlands bordering the harbor.
In addition to $25 million to $35 million for New Bedford Harbor, Administrator Jackson announced federal stimulus funding to assist cleanup of two other Massachusetts Superfund sites:
· Hatheway and Patterson in Mansfield, $10 million to $25 million: Release of contaminants into the Rumford River from this wood-preserving company led to impacts on fisheries and wetlands, as well as groundwater contamination that threatened nearby municipal and private drinking water wells. The design and planning phase of the cleanup, estimated at $22 million, was completed in 2008.
· Silresim Chemical Corp. in Lowell, $10 million to $25 million: Silresim bankruptcy in 1977 and left behind a great deal of soil and groundwater contamination. Since 1978, the Commonwealth has conducted a variety of assessment and cleanup operations, including ongoing operation and maintenance of a groundwater pump and treatment system to contain the groundwater contamination, at a cost of $900,000 a year. Next step in the cleanup will involve soil treatment, which will reduce annual maintenance costs.
Investments in environmental protection and restoration are critical components of Governor Patrick's Massachusetts Recovery Plan, which combines state, federal and, where possible, private efforts to provide immediate and long-term relief and position the Commonwealth for recovery in the following ways:
- Deliver immediate relief by investing in the road, bridge and rail projects that put people to work today and providing safety net services that sustain people who are especially vulnerable during an economic crisis;
- Build a better tomorrow through education and infrastructure investments that strengthen our economic competitiveness, prepare workers for the jobs of the future and support clean energy, broadband and technology projects that cut costs while growing the economy; and
- Reform state government by eliminating the pension and ethics loopholes that discredit the work of government and revitalize the transportation networks that have suffered from decades of neglect and inaction.
Governor Patrick played a key role in developing the federal recovery law's State Stabilization Fund that is now being used to shore up state education funding as well as to prevent layoffs and cutbacks in other critical areas of government during the recession. Over the next two years, Massachusetts will receive an estimated $1.88 billion to support early education, K-12 education and higher education. For more information about what the federal recovery law means for Massachusetts, please visit www.mass.gov/recovery.