Cleanup Continues of Superfund Site at Former Naval Weapons Industrial Reserve Plant in Bedford


Compiled by The Bedford Citizen

Bedford’s Navy Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) met on May 8, 2019, to discuss the second Five-Year Review of the environmental cleanup for contaminated groundwater beneath the land of the former Naval Weapons Industrial Reserve Plant (NWIRP) and adjacent privately owned wetlands.

The northern section of the former NWIRP encompasses 30 acres on Hartwell Hill with several structures, including the large Components Laboratory, locally known as the Raytheon building on the hill.

The southern section of the NWIRP, the Southern Flight Test Area (SFTA), is directly across Hartwell Road from the Hill and consists of 16 acres of land and structures including a Navy hangar.  The hangar and land were sold in a GSA auction last February for $9,040,000 to North Shore developer Charles Patsios.

Raytheon operated the facility for the Navy, developing and testing prototype missile guidance and control systems, from 1952 until the site was mothballed in 2000.

Groundwater contaminants being remediated include the chlorinated industrial solvent trichloroethylene (TCE) and the petroleum components benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene (BTEX).  Two additional contaminants that have been detected in groundwater and are now being monitored for potential remediation include the solvent 1,4-dioxane and the firefighting foam chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS.

By law, The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980  (CERCLA), the Navy retains responsibility for environmental remediation on the entire 46 acres, regardless of ownership.  The Navy coordinates closely and regularly with EPA and MassDEP regulators on the NWIRP remediation, and it operates with a 30+ year budget devoted to this restoration project.  The Navy’s ultimate goal is to bring contaminated groundwater at the site to safe drinking water standards.

Maritza Montegross, Navy Facilities Engineering Command Remedial Project Manager for the Bedford NWIRP since 2006, presented an overview of contamination issues and ongoing cleanup actions at the site; discussed protective land use controls and evolving plans; then fielded questions from Bedford officials and residents.

Navy consultants Robert Davis and Leanne Hawn, Tetra Tech; John Fitzgerald, KOMAN Government Solutions; Lisa Stone, Renova-Sovereign; Rob McCarthy, Resolution Consultants; and Paul Corwell, Dextera Corporation, joined her to answer questions about the site and ongoing cleanup operations.

Also in attendance were Michael Daly of the USEPA, and Anne Malewicz and Randi Augustine of the MassDEP.  Bedford was represented by Don Corey, RAB Co-Chair; Michael Rosenberg, Board of Selectmen Chair; Heidi Porter, Board of Health Director; and Ann Kiessling, Board of Health member.

To view Montegross’s presentation click this link

To read details of the most recent work on the Site plus the previous 2014 Five Year Review, click this link

NWIRP remediation information is also available in the Bedford Public Library in a CD-binder which the Navy updates annually.   Public RAB meetings are called on an as-needed basis by the Navy and RAB members.

The current Five Year Review is due to be completed by September 2019.

Important highlights of the May 8 RAB meeting from The Bedford Citizen‘s coverage are linked below

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