NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (State House Press Service) – Elected officials were lured to the port of New Bedford on Tuesday to mark the latest major milestone in efforts to tackle contamination there.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that work to address PCB contamination at the port is now on track for completion in about three years, thanks in part to a $72.7 million commitment. dollars in the new federal infrastructure law.
State officials also joined the EPA in announcing a settlement with Cornell Dubilier Electronics, a capacitor company with a facility in New Bedford, which will provide approximately $3.6 million for shoreline cleanup in the postage and an additional $400,000 to help pay for claims on the Superfund site.
The EPA said “significant progress” in removing and controlling PCB contamination at New Bedford Harbor has been made since 2012, when the government struck a $366 million deal with AVX. Corporation, but there is still work to be done and these funds are mostly exhausted. The EPA estimated the total cost of cleaning up PCBs from the port at $1 billion and said about half of that amount was funded by federal and state cost recovery efforts.
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Although there are still three years of work to come, the cleanup work on the 18,000 acre site has spanned decades and the end of the work is now in sight.
“I am thrilled to report that with vital funding from the bipartisan Infrastructure Act and the unwavering commitment of our law enforcement attorneys, state counterparts and community partners, the “EPA now has the resources to complete the work to deal with the hazardous pollution that has contaminated New Bedford Harbor for decades,” EPA Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe said in a statement. “The EPA and the Biden-Harris administration have prioritized protecting public health and addressing environmental impacts in communities that have historically been left out of the conversation and overburdened by dangerous pollution. I am proud of this collaborative effort and the progress we have made.”
The site was added to the Superfund list in 1983 because it was contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls and heavy metals used by at least two manufacturers when PCBs were used to make electrical appliances from the 1940s through the late 1970s. Industrial waste containing PCBs was dumped into the port and the city’s sewer system, the EPA said, a practice that ended when PCB manufacturing was banned by the EPA at the end of the 1970s.
The Infrastructure Act called for a “first wave” of $1 billion to help clean up Superfund sites across the country. – Michael P. Norton/SHNS | 05/31/22 11:58
Written by Michael Norton/SHNS.