MassDEP to conduct environmental review of compressor site

After receiving pressure from the public and local elected officials, including Mayors Hedlund, Koch, and Sullivan, MassDEP has agreed to do a review of contamination at the proposed compressor station site. The site is home to coal ash, and could require a higher threshold of remediation if it is found to not be classified as “historic fill”. TRC, a consultant for Enbridge, completed a review that stated that the coal ash is historic fill, but others disagree with their finding.

And many, many thanks to our member Margaret for representing the PIP (Public Involvement Plan). This was a lot of paperwork to do and meetings to have to make sure that the Licensed Site Professional (LSP) was called to task to actually consider the contamination of the site. Margaret also followed up with the DEP to force an audit of the Access and Use Plan. The 21E considerations will have the DEP back at the site to consider the true nature of the contamination. That's a good idea considering that the LSP was taking money with the other hand from Enbridge in order to pooh-pooh the the contamination issues and force this project forward. Conflict of interest, anyone?

You can read more about this development from The Patriot Ledger:

“"State officials sent a letter to Algonquin Gas Transmission, a subsidiary of Spectra Energy-Enbridge, notifying it that the state Department of Environmental Protection will do its own audit of the site. That decision was made after Weymouth Mayor Robert Hedlund and other officials raised concerns that consultants for the natural-gas company made errors in the “21E” assessment.

State law regulates and promotes cleanup of oil and hazardous materials in soil and groundwater, usually during a real estate transfer. This review was done when Calpine, the owner of a North Weymouth power plant, sold three lots totaling 16 acres to Algonquin for $13 million in 2017.

The property was previously used by Boston Edison to store coal and dispose of ash and coal for its Edgar station on the other side of Route 3A. The company later put an 11.3-million-gallon above-ground oil tank on the property that also caused contamination.

Soil assessments in 1991 and 1992 identified polyaromatic hydrocarbons – chemicals that form during the incomplete burning of coal – plus coal, ash and metals, including arsenic.

Hedlund said consultants from TRC Environmental Corp. identified the land as “historic fill” – material used to raise a topographic elevation – but officials argue that coal ash doesn’t meet that definition. Hedlund said attorneys for the town and members of the Fore River Residents Against the Compressor Station have raised that concern several times.

“An industrial entity dumping coal ash in the 1930s and 1940s isn’t historic fill,” Hedlund said Friday. “If it was historic fill, then the site requires less remediation. But if DEP finds it’s not historic fill, there’s a higher threshold to clean it up.”'