Next Mohawk Tannery meeting set

Staff photo by Adam Urquhart A public meeting regarding the cleanup of Nashua’s Mohawk Tannery site is slated for 7 p.m. Thursday in the library of Amherst Street Elementary School, 71 Amherst St.

NASHUA – Sludge containing chemicals such as barium, dioxin, arsenic and chromium contaminates the Mohawk Tannery site near the Nashua River, as public discussion continues regarding how to address this problem.

Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess is hosting a public neighborhood meeting about the cleanup at 7 p.m. Thursday at Amherst Street Elementary School, 71 Amherst St.

“It’s very important that we have the guidance of the public going forward, especially those who live near the Mohawk Tannery, so that we make the best decision for Nashua,” Donchess said.

From 1924-1984, the property housed a facility that tanned hides for leather. During this time, the sludge lagoons at the tannery were filled with fat, hair, flesh, and other byproducts of the leather tanning process.

It has since been declared a Superfund site by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Earlier this year, the EPA hosted public meetings in Nashua on July 25 and Aug. 29. Federal officials are recommending treating, then encapsulating and capping, the contaminated soil on site.

Officials want to turn the area into a 40-acre development by partnering with real estate developer Bernie Plante of Blaylock LLC. Plante has said his company would cover the majority of the cleanup costs, while adding that he hopes to construct new apartments and condominiums above the treated and enclosed waste.

Adam Urquhart can be reached at 594-1206 or