EPA outlines site cleanup methods|
The EPA picked the following outline as its preferred method for cleaning surface and subsurface soil at contaminated sites of the former Westinghouse plant in Sharon.
Cleanup methods will include backfilling clean soil into excavated areas.
That, in a nutshell, is the Environmental Protection Agency's plan for cleaning contaminated soil at the former Westinghouse Electric Corp. plant in Sharon.
Earlier this month the federal agency gave a tentative thumbs up to a plan which would rid topsoil and subsoil of toxins at the closed 50-acre complex.
Details of the cleanup plan were recently released by the agency. The plan now undergoes a public comment period. EPA is holding a meeting at 7 tonight in Sharon council chambers to hear public input on the plan.
Ridding the soil of toxins at the complex is part of an overall cleanup at the plant which, when finished, would remove the site from the federal Superfund list.
Westinghouse is the plant's former owner and is required to foot the entire cleanup bill. Before merging with CBS, Westinghouse created a special fund to pay for environmental cleanups at its closed plants. CBS is overseeing the cleanup of the Sharon site.
Work on the cleanup should begin next year and take six months to a year to complete, said Chuck Tordella, project manager for the state Department of Environmental Protection.
DEP supervises the cleanup for EPA.
"There's nothing fancy to it, it's pretty standard technology,'' said Tordella of the cleanup plan. "It's dig and dispose.''
Under the plan, heavily contaminated soil will be removed from the site. But EPA is allowing soil with low levels of contamination to remain within the complex, Tordella said.
Because of the liability, CBS is "really, really cautious'' about the cleanup, Tordella said. After a cleanup is completed and the property sold, if further contamination is found the original owner is financially on the hook for the additional remediation.
"They (CBS) don't want something coming back on them because they didn't clean it properly,'' Tordella said. "They're taking every precautionary measure -- they're leaving no stone unturned.''
Most of the contaminated soils are covered by buildings, concrete or asphalt. Exposed outdoor soils are in a moat at the southwestern portion of the complex and in an area along the western edge of the railroad tracks. A limited amount of exposed soil is located between the buildings owned by Armco Inc., Sawhill Tubular Division on the north side of the complex and along the west side of the Winner Steel Services building complex's southern section.
EPA estimates the soil cleanup will cost between $4 million to $6 million.
Westinghouse operated the transformer plant from 1922 to 1985 and used polychlorinated biphenyls at the site for most of that time. PCB spills that occurred over the years contaminated soil at the complex and certain buildings. PCBs have been linked to causing cancer in laboratory animals.
EPA added the plant to the Superfund list in 1990. A separate cleanup is now underway at inside buildings at the complex.