- Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Media Contact for State and Federal Environmental Officials Announce Proposal to Use $1 Million from Superfund Settlement to Support Upper Neponset River Watershed Restoration
Edmund Coletta, MassDEP – Director of Public Affairs
BOSTON — State and federal environmental authorities today announced a proposal to use $1 million of the Blackburn & Union Privileges Superfund site natural resource damage (NRD) settlement to fund a competitive groundwater restoration grant, wetland restoration around Memorial Pond in Walpole, and stream restoration in Traphole Brook in Walpole, Norwood and Sharon. The projects are outlined in a draft restoration plan and environmental assessment released today for public comment through Friday, May 25, 2018. An informational meeting will be held Thursday, May 10 at 6:30 pm at the Walpole Public Library, 143 School St.
The intent of these projects is to restore, replace, or acquire natural resources and natural resource services harmed due to the release of hazardous substances from the Blackburn & Union Privileges Superfund site, a 22-acre area located along the Neponset River in Walpole. The operation of various industrial facilities dating back to the 19th century contaminated the site with asbestos, arsenic, lead and other hazardous substances. Streams, wetlands, soil and groundwater resources were contaminated, which in turn affected the fish and wildlife that rely upon these habitats.
The Blackburn & Union NRD Trustee Council comprises the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA), represented by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service). In 2011, the trustees entered into a settlement recovering about $1 million in damages as compensation for natural resources injured, destroyed, or lost by the release of hazardous substances and materials from or at the site. Funds were allocated to implement projects restoring groundwater resources ($300,000) and stream, floodplain, and wetland resources ($575,000). An additional $125,000 was targeted to implement projects restoring both groundwater and ecological resources.
The draft restoration plan and assessment follows 2016 and 2017 meetings with community members, local groups, environmental stakeholders, elected officials, and state and federal agencies to identify, explore and develop restoration project ideas.
The draft documents are available here for a 30-day public comment period. Hard copies are also available at the Walpole Public Library. Comments can be submitted in writing to Karen Pelto, 1 Winter Street, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02108; or by e-mailing them to: Karen.Pelto@state.ma.us.
Final documents will be issued after public comments are considered by the Trustees. After the publication of the final restoration plan and environmental assessment, the Trustees will begin to implement approved restoration projects.