News Releases from Region 01
WILMINGTON, MASS. – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold a virtual public meeting on Wednesday, June 23, 2021 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. to update residents on next steps for the Olin Chemical Superfund Site in Wilmington, Mass.
In March, EPA issued an interim cleanup plan for groundwater and final cleanup plan for soil, sediments, and surface water at the Wilmington site. During the meeting, EPA will provide updates on upcoming and ongoing remedial activities, including upgrades to the temporary cap on the “Containment Area” feature on the 51 Eames Street Olin property, and ongoing groundwater investigations. EPA’s updates will be followed by a question-and-answer session, during which a representative from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MassDPH) will be available to answer questions about the Wilmington Childhood Cancer Study.
EPA’s March 2021 Record of Decision (ROD) addresses contamination in groundwater, surface water, soils, and sediments at the Site. The groundwater portion of the ROD is an interim measure to mitigate immediate risks to public health and the environment, control the major sources of contamination to the aquifer, and prevent the further spread of the groundwater contaminant plume. Concurrently, EPA is continuing to oversee longer-term groundwater studies at the Site. Information from these investigations will be used to help EPA develop a final cleanup plan for groundwater in the future.
The Site is comprised of the Olin property, an approximately 50-acre parcel located at 51 Eames Street in Wilmington and adjoining areas that have been impacted by contaminant releases from manufacturing and waste disposal activities formerly conducted at the property. A chemical manufacturing facility was located within the 30-acre northern portion of the property, which produced blowing agents, stabilizers, antioxidants, and other specialized chemicals for the rubber and plastics industry from 1953 until it closed in 1986. The facility was owned and operated by several different corporate entities over time, including National Polychemicals, Inc., American Biltrite Rubber Company, Fisons Limited and Fisons Corporation (later known as NOR-AM Agro LLC), Stepan Chemical, and Olin Corporation (Olin). Olin purchased the property in 1980 and operated the facility until 1986, when the facility ceased operation. Olin continues to own the property.
During the facility’s operation, wastes were released to the environment, including from disposal on the property in unlined and leaking lagoons and due to spills and other releases. As the liquid materials moved downward through the soil, they reached the groundwater table. Because the liquids were denser than water, they continued to sink downward, pooling in a series of cascading depressions on the bedrock surface. Ultimately, contaminated groundwater migrated nearly a mile to the north and northwest of the property and resulted in the Town of Wilmington placing its municipal drinking water supply wells in the Maple Meadow Brook aquifer off-line in 2002 due to contamination from the Site.
The Site was finalized on EPA’s National Priorities List in April 2006 and investigations under EPA oversight began in 2008. While enough data has been collected to issue an interim cleanup plan to control the major sources of groundwater contamination, and a final cleanup plan to address areas of soil, sediment, and surface water contamination on and around the Olin property, additional studies are ongoing to determine the full nature and extent of Site contamination in groundwater.
Information on EPA’s work to address contamination at the Olin Chemical Superfund Site, and all site documents are available at: https://www.epa.gov/superfund/olin .
The virtual meeting will be held using the Microsoft Teams platform. A meeting link and instructions to participate will be posted on the site’s webpage (above link). Participants may also join by phone by dialing +1 857-299-6148 and then entering meeting ID: 843 451 080#.
During the question-and-answer session, participants will be able to post questions in the chat box. The questions will be read aloud by a moderator and responded to by the Olin Site team and MassDPH. Questions will also be taken over the phone for those who cannot post questions online.