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Cleanup at Mohawk Tanney still in the works; three other town hall meetings set

NASHUA – A plan to create residential and/or commercial units once remediation is complete at the Mohawk Tannery Superfund site was a topic of discussion during the Ward 4 town hall-style meeting on Monday.

Mayor Jim Donchess said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency continues working with developer Bernie Plante on a multimillion-dollar remediation project for the property, located at the end of Fairmount Street. Plante is developing a plan to encapsulate the toxic sludge left at the site. Donchess said Plante has proposed something very similar to the EPA solution, and after some delay, that plan is now moving forward.

“Our understanding is that the design was sent to several contractors within the last few weeks, and this is not the city putting this out to bid, it’s Mr. Plante,” Donchess said. “He sent the design to several contractors and expects responses very soon.”

The project will aim to not just remediate the Mohawk Tannery, but also two adjacent properties, the Fimbel Door property and the city’s Parkway right of way property. Both properties are home to asbestos containing material that is unrelated to the site’s past activities. Additionally, according to the EPA site, the Fimbel Door property houses a landfill containing sludge waste from the site’s operations.

Donchess said it is not clear what Plante aims to put in place once this cleanup project is complete. He said it could be a number of residential units, and possibly some commercial units by the Broad Street Parkway. Donchess also said the hope is that when the bids come back, the city can work with the EPA and Plante to develop a financial plan that would result in a cleanup.

“The EPA is willing to contribute some funds – we don’t know exactly how much – the developer is willing to contribute funds, and certainly, the city is willing to devote at least part of the tax revenue that would be generated by the development to pay for the cleanup,” Donchess said.

FAST FACTS

The remaining town hall-style meetings in Nashua are scheduled as follows, with each session slated to start at 7 p.m.

• Ward 1, Broad Street Elementary School, today;

• Ward 9, New Searles Elementary School, Thursday; and

• Ward 5, Main Dunstable Elementary School, June 24.