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October 18, 2012

EPA completes review of landfill

EPA completes review

LONDONDERRY — The Environmental Protection Agency completed its fifth five-year review on a former landfill near Auburn Road.

The report showed the area is safe — for the short term. The area has been labeled a groundwater management zone, according to the report.

About 12 acres of the 180-acre property were used as a landfill and dump in the past. As a result, arsenic contaminated the groundwater.

According to a report by the EPA released in 2000, the site operated as a landfill and dump during the 1960s. The town capped the landfill in 1996, but the quality of groundwater has suffered ever since.

The EPA was reimbursed $5.84 million and the state Department of Environmental Services $54,000 already spent on the cleanup. Exxon Corporation, Lockheed-Martin Corporation, Waste Management and 27 other parties were charged with cleaning up the former landfill.

In 1986, the EPA determined contaminated groundwater was flowing off site toward drinking water supply wells at the Whispering Pines Mobile Home Park and other residential wells.

Because the town supplied water to the landfill and neighboring communities in 1987, there are no immediate health concerns, although the cleanup process does need to move faster, said Michael Jasinski, chief of New Hampshire Superfund sites at the EPA.

“Science has gotten a lot smarter and a lot better,” Jasinski said. “We need to get back out there and see where we are.”

The goals is to get the groundwater back to drinking-level standards, as well as protecting the site from future contamination, Jasinski said.

Previously, EPA officials recommended the arsenic contamination would be removed naturally, he said.

EPA officials plan to meet with the state Department of Environmental Services as well as town officials to discuss follow up cleanup plans in 2013, he said.

A summary of the five-year report can be found at epa.gov/region1/superfund/sites/auburnroad.

In addition, there are also copies of the site cleanup and other reports at Leach Library.

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