Mass. AG cleans up with contaminated property settlement

Keith Loria Jun. 17, 2010, 6:19pm

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (Legal Newsline) -- Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced on Wednesday that a settlement has been reached with a corporation over the cleanup of chemically contaminated property.

AVX Corporation has agreed to clean up and prepare the Aerovox facility in New Bedford. The facility is a vacant industrial site along the Acushnet River, that has been contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls and solvents.

The 10.3 acre New Bedford property, closed in 2001, has been home to a number of manufacturing facilities over the years. AVX is the corporate successor the Aerovox Corporation, the site's operator from 1938 to 1973.

The agreement between AVX and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Agency is part of an effort to remove a blighted mill building from the city's waterfront and return the area to one that is productive.

"This agreement is a historic moment for New Bedford, allowing a dangerous and long-contaminated site to be turned into a safe and clean community asset," Coakley said. "We are delighted to have worked cooperatively with the City of New Bedford, MassDEP and the Environmental Protection Agency to achieve a comprehensive solution for this site."

According to an administrative consent order agreed to by AVX, the company must assess and clean up the Aerovox property under the state's hazardous waste cleanup law, Chapter 21E, and remove the 450,000 square foot former manufacturing building.

In a separate agreement the company made with the EPA, AVX must also clean all polychlorinated biphenyls and solvents. The total cost of the assessment and cleanup is estimated at $30 million.

MassDEP will oversee the Chapter 21E cleanup, which will check to ensure that the contamination has been adequately addressed with soil and groundwater remediation, site restrictions and long-term monitoring.

"The demolition and removal of the heavily contaminated mill building and the site remediation is a big win for the city and its citizens," MassDEP Deputy Commissioner Gary Moran said. "This agreement will result in the removal of a threat to public health and safety and ready an underutilized waterfront property for potential redevelopment. MassDEP will continue to collaborate with all parties and the city to move this important project forward."

Once the cleanup is complete, it is expected that the City of New Bedford will ready the site for redevelopment.

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