Health risks posed by mechanical dredging worry experts
Environmental and public health experts are concerned that mechanical dredging poses health risks more significant than those calculated by the Environmental Protection Agency.
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#1 May 2, 2012
Terminal project dredges up environmental
April 20, 2012 12:00 NEW BEDFORD — The large-scale dredging of the harbor connected to the development of the 20-acre South Terminal site will involve the use of a CAD cell, stirring up fears among local environmental groups who say it is a potentially dangerous way to clean the harbor of toxic pollutants.
The plan for the $35 million marine project, which officials hope will be the staging area for Cape Wind and make New Bedford the center of the offshore wind industry in the Northeast, is under review by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. A final response is expected in a few months, said EPA spokeswoman Kelsey O'Neil.
The current plans call for the materials taken from the floor of the harbor to be buried in a confined aquatic disposal or CAD cell — a pit at the bottom of the harbor that is covered with a cap of clean sediment.
The use of a CAD cell is not one of the EPA's concerns, which focus on the environmental impact to nearby wetlands and the flounder and quahog populations, O'Neil said.
"We are in favor of CAD cells at the moment," she said, adding that the level of PCBs — toxic polychlorinated biphenyls — in the area proposed for dredging falls below the level required for action by the EPA. "From our point of view, it would actually be cleaning up a portion of the river that wouldn't be cleaned up by EPA."
Before Lt. Gov. Tim Murray's visit last week, state officials met with local environmentalists, who are already fighting a different CAD cell proposal related to contaminated material in the lower harbor, where the level of PCBs is higher.
"We are very supportive of the (South Terminal) project.... What we're against and why we go to these meetings is we want to prohibit the burying of PCBs in our harbor," said Karen Vilandry, vice president of the Hands Across the River Coalition. "You don't just cover over things. You properly dispose of them."
The harbor already contains three CAD cells from earlier navigational dredging projects, two of which remain completely uncapped, said Ed Anthes-Washburn, director of operations at the Harbor Development Commission. Plans for the South Terminal project include capping those cells, he said.
Piping polluted material to a de-watering facility and then shipping it to a PCB-licensed landfill, as Vilandry is calling for, would increase the project by 10 times, officials said. CAD cell disposal costs about $60 to $75 per cubic yard and the alternative would cost about $600 per cubic yard.
"The only way they will ever dredge is with a CAD cell," Anthes-Washburn said
#2 May 2, 2012
Decades have gone by on who,what,when and where the toxins are buried all around New Bedford.The facts now look like they are being dug up again and thrown in pits under the harbor.
The State of Massachusetts is rushing to build the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal near the old Standard Times Field.
Is the Standard Times Field the location of the new Marine Commerce Terminal ? What happens to the toxins buried at the site ? Do they just throw that in the river and bury it again ?
The state budget is 35 million dollars but what is the real cost of just the clean up of toxins on the land and dredging next to the twenty acre site ? The actual clean up cost could be in the hundreds of millions !
How about the toxic Cannon Street Power Plant next door to the proposed Marine Commerce Terminal ?
The House in 1996 passed a plan that contained $300,000 to study the possibility of converting the toxic abandoned New Bedford power plant. The Cannon Street clean up documents already exist and are said to weigh twenty pounds.
Standard Times Field
Although environmental assessments conducted in the early 1990's did not reveal widespread contamination, the city chose to reassess the property to provide up-to-date information to prospective buyers. The EPA-Conducted TBA revealed some localized contamination issues, such as the presence of a large underground storage tank with surrounding soils contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons, a layer of coal 1 to 2 feet below the soil surface in an area suspected of being a former coal bin, and some asbestos associated with building debris. Soil throughout the site contained hydrocarbons, PAH's, pesticides, PCB's, and metals. There were elevated levels of PCB's in the groundwater on one lot and of heavy metals on a few lots.
#3 May 3, 2012
Is the proposed New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal still a toxic site ?
The proposed New Bedford Marine Terminal has some issues with a possible suspected 150,000-gallon fuel oil underground storage tank (UST) and two 7,000 fuel oil tanks. This would be in addition to all the other toxins found in other sites in New Bedford
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