USA: Groups Question New Bedford Harbor Cleanup

Groups Question New Bedford Harbor Cleanup

With support from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the Buzzards Bay Coalition is getting technical to find the right solution for the cleanup of New Bedford Harbor.

Specifically, the Bay Coalition was awarded a Technical Assistance Grant to study the proposed change to the EPA’s method for disposing of toxic PCBs removed from the bottom of New Bedford Harbor.

Until now, PCB laden sediment was shipped out of state to a Superfund disposal facility. The EPA has a new process where the sediment would be buried under the harbor floor in the Acushnet River in a Confined Aquatic Disposal (CAD) cell. While the change might save a little time and money, there are few details on how the new process will keep toxic PCBs away for good. The grant will allow the Bay Coalition to do an independent review of all aspects on the design, construction, monitoring and operation & maintenance plans for the lower harbor CAD cell to determine if this change is in the long-term good for New Bedford Harbor.

With the help of a selection committee, Dr. Frank Bohlen, from the University of Connecticut, will serve as the technical advisor for the Bay Coalition. Dr. Bohlen has over forty years of experience dealing with sediments, sediment transport and the associated transport of contaminants and is familiar with New Bedford Harbor system through his previous work at the site, which included developing a sediment transport model for the estuary. Dr. Bohlen is currently working with the Riverkeeper organization in New York in the development of remediation plans for the removal and/or isolation of PCB and heavy metal contaminated sediments in the Hudson River. He is also assisting a group of NGOs including Riverkeeper, Scenic Hudson, Clearwater, and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in their efforts to monitor progress of the EPA/GE dredging of PCB contaminated sediments in the Hudson River.

[mappress]

Source: savebuzzardsbay, October 16, 2012

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