FRAMINGHAM – Senate President Karen Spilka has secured $12 million to complete the clean up of the toxic site at the former General Chemical plant located near a Framingham elementary school.
“I was able to secure $12 million for the comprehensive cleanup and environmental remediation at the former site of the general chemical facility,” said Senate President Spilka to SOURCE.
Without these funds, the toxic site, located next to Harmony Grove Elementary School, would have remained toxic and dormant, according to the Senate President.
The General Chemical site is located at 133 Leland Street and was initially used as a bulk fuel terminal by Gulf Oil in the 1920s.
During the 1960s, the site became a hazardous waste treatment with storage and used solvent recycling.
In 2012, the site ceased operations.
The Leland Street property has had chemicals including Trichloroethylene, soaking into the soil and groundwater for decades, according to Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Waste Site Cleanup Regional Director Stephen Johnson speaking at a public hearing a few years ago,
Prolonged or repeated exposure of trichloroethylene causes kidney cancer. And can be associated with an increased risks of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and liver cancer.
The Commonwealth spent about $3.5 million for phase 1 of the cleanup, which involved two specific areas of the property.
The prior owner, under duress, scrambled together some funds and the State put in some funds, but it was not enough to completely clear the Framingham property of hazardous waste and toxic chemicals, explained the Senate President.
“There was absolutely no source of funding to clean up this site from the state for the federal government coming,” said Senate President Spilka, who advocated and pushed for the funds in the ARPA packaged signed by Governor Charlie baker.
Senate President Spilka said the need to clean up this site – in an environmental justice neighborhood, next to an elementary school – has been needed for decades.
“It needed to be cleaned up once and for all,” said Senate President Spilka. “We needed to get all of the hazardous waste off of the site. This $12 million is a sufficient amount of funds to finally clean it up,” said Senate President Spilka.
The $12 million will go to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP),” said the Senate President.
The Senate President said the $12 million covers all the clean-up options available, and is sufficient enough to eventually get the Leland Street site hazardous waste free.
Earlier this year, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection started phase 1 of the clean-up of the site, after a year delay due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A contractor used thermal remediation technologies to heat the soil.
With thermal remediation, electrodes are inserted into the ground heating up the contaminated soil and groundwater to roughly 200 degrees, creating chemical vapors that are then vacuumed up and run through carbon filters.
This clean-up option is best done in the summer months to ensure the soil achieves desired high temperatures.
The process is expensive, but this process was recommended to MassDEP by the U.S. EPA.
So now that funding has been secured for the rest of the clean-up, what are the next steps?
First, MassDEP will review & evaluate the multiple options for clean-up.
Next, a public hearing for the neighborhood would be held to discuss their plan to finish the cleanup on Leland Street.
Finally, work would begin.