EPA proposes to add Franklin, Massachusetts, site to Superfund list

April 1, 2015

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently proposed to add a Franklin, Massachusetts hazardous waste site to the National Priorities List (NPL) of Superfund sites.

Since the late 1800s the BJAT LLC Site, located in Franklin, was used for industrial operations, including the manufacture of rubber and plastic products. The site has not been active since 1985, but still carries contamination that resulted from manufacturing procedures. The site is primarily polluted with heavy metals in the soil, groundwater and wetland areas around it.

"This designation is the beginning of action to secure the site and reduce potential exposure to lead and other metals present in soils at this former mill site and in nearby wetlands," said Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Martin Suuberg. "The lack of financial resources by the current owner to address the contamination makes the federal Superfund program necessary for completing this costly and complex cleanup."

The Superfund program was established by Congress in 1980, and investigates and cleans up the most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country. These areas are converted into productive local resources by eliminating or reducing health risks and environmental contamination. EPA Regional Administrator Curt Spalding said in a statement that the agency was committed to protecting public health and the environment in communities where old industrial facilities had caused serious pollution.

This year, 2015, marks the 35th anniversary of the enactment of the Comprehensive Environmental, Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the law establishing the Superfund program. The law requires the EPA to update the NPL annually.

Environmental consultants can aid in the evaluation of Superfund sites and can help federal and local governments in revitalization efforts.