Superfund sites a priority

Efforts by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and local developer Bernie Plante to cleanup the Mohawk Tannery site in Nashua are ongoing. Near the Nashua River, this property is known to feature radioactive barium, as well as carcinogenic dioxin and arsenic.

However, this is not the only EPA Superfund site in Greater Nashua. Another is the 28-acre Sylvester Site, which is located in a residential area of southwestern Nashua. According to the EPA, this site along Gilson Road was an illegal dumping ground through most of the 1970s. Liquid hazardous wastes migrated through unsaturated soils and entered the ground water at the site until EPA and New Hampshire officials began cleanup operations in 1982.

Another Superfund zone is the former New Hampshire Plating Co., in Merrimack. According to the EPA, this acreage was home to an active electroplating facility for metal finishing from 1962 to 1985. During this time, wastewater containing metals, solvents and cyanide used in the electroplating operations was discharged into drainage channels in the former building floor, flowing into unlined lagoons north of the building. Final cleanup actions began in November 2004 and soil cleanup activities were completed in December 2006.

We are glad the EPA continues to make oversight of these areas a priority.

“The Five-Year Review process is a vital component of our Superfund partnership with EPA, helping to ensure that cleanup actions withstand the test of time at these challenging sites,” New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services Commissioner Robert Scott said.

“Once a site or part of a site is cleaned up, it is important for EPA to conduct regular reviews of the cleanup to ensure that it remains protective of human health and the environment,” EPA New England Acting Regional Administrator Deb Szaro added.

The federal government, specifically the EPA, is often accused of excessive regulation. However, when the site in Merrimack once saw deadly cyanide discharged into the ground, we believe the EPA is right to keep a close eye on these Superfund sites.