Monthly Archives: August 2011

Medfield to NSTAR

Mike Sullivan’s email to NSTAR this afternoon

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8/31/2011  4:17PM
Remaining areas of power outages Medfield
Sullivan, Michael J.
“‘Salvucci, Barry’”
===========================================================
Barry, The following is the list of remaining power outages in Medfield as
of 4:00 p.m., August 31, 2011.

MEDFIELD

Lower Indian Hill and sewer pump station on South St at base
of Indian Hill

Nauset Street

Mohawk Street

Penobscot Street

Granite Street (just before Liberty Road)

Snyder Road – blocked with wires

11 -13 Plain St. (beginning part)

Kettle Pond

Cole Drive

74 Wood End Lane (tree on wire)

Wood End Lane (beginning part)

38 Bridge Street

69 & 71 Dale Street

94 High Street – water well

Noon Hill Road

Appreciate your attention to these. Would like to get together with NSTAR to
discuss new dispatch system and other communication issues.

Mike Sullivan, Bob Meaney. Bill Kingsbury, Ken Feeney

Town & State Diverge on MSH Clean Up

Medfield and DCAM have diverged in their views on how to clean up the Medfield State Hospital C&D area in and along the Charles River.  Medfield’s State Hospital Reuse Committee (SHERC) does not feel that the C&D area requires the Immediate Response Action (IRA) that is pending, and that if any part of the C&D area does require an immediate response, it is at most, just the oil in the river, not the toxic dump landfill created by DMH along the river’s edge that has existed in and next to the river for decades.  DCAM wants to basically cap that dump in place, whereas SHERC wants it dug out and safely stored on-site.

SHERC is expected to advise the Board of Selectmen at the next selectmen meeting on 9/6/11 that:
1.    The oil in the river should not be capped at all this fall, and for the oil to just be removed next year, as DCAM says it now plans.
2.    The toxic waste material in the C&D area should be removed where it exists below the groundwater line, in order to protect the town’s adjacent water supply (well #6) from leaching toxins, and
3.    DCAM should construct storage for that removed toxic material on-site, just as DCAM did at Boston State Hospital for the asbestosis containing materials (ACM) there.  DCAM has said it cannot remove and store on-site the materials in the C&D area because they are ACM.

DEP held a stakeholders meeting on 8/19/11 on DCAM’s proposed emergency clean up in and along the Charles River.  After that meeting, DCAM submitted its suggested “minutes” of that meeting prepared by its paid consultant (who had not attended the meeting), which I posted last week.  Below are links to the responses to date from three Medfield participants and the CRWA, correcting the mischaracterizations of the DCAM paid consultant.  The Board of Selectmen will respond to DEP on 9/7/11.

John Thompson, SHERC Chair

http://medfield02052.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/20110829-ohnthompson-mepa-drod-28-august-2011.pdf

Bill Massaro

http://medfield02052.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/20110826-wjm-drod-eea-14448-comment-ltr.doc

John Harney

http://medfield02052.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/20110826-0johnharney-lt-dep.doc

Charles River Watershed Association

http://medfield02052.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/20110829-crwa-mshfrodcomment082911.pdf

Verizon and NSTAR Emergency #s & Advice

Messages below with respect to the storm from NSTAR and Verizon, with telephone #s to report problems  you may have – ====================================================

NSTAR is closely monitoring the storm’s progress and we’re prepared to respond to any damage or outages as soon as it’s safe to do so.

We’ll be activating our Emergency Response Plan, opening regional service centers as storm response headquarters and adding extra staff in our service centers and customer call center.

NSTAR is prepared to address any damage and outages resulting from the storm and we encourage customers whose electric service is affected to call us at 1-800-592-2000. As always, we strongly urge people to stay away from all down wires and to report them to us and local emergency officials.

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VERIZON

Dear Municipal Official:

The following helpful information and Verizon contact numbers will help residents and your municipality deal with telecommunications related issues over the next several days as we prepare for Hurricane Irene.  The customer check list below, Verizon’s toll free number 1-800-VERIZON (1-800-837-4966) and website www.verizon.com/support may be posted to your Municipal website and public access channels.

The Verizon network is a complex collection of assets, from buildings to transmission facilities to vehicles and people, and Verizon’s regional control center is preparing for possible flooding, power outages and downed trees and wires from Irene’s aftermath.  For example, generators are being fueled and tested and portable equipment like trucks and specialized gear is being moved from low-lying areas, where possible.  Building sump pumps are also being tested, and drains and gutters cleared.  Verizon teams are also reviewing the inventory of supplies like utility poles, cable and other equipment and are planning for staffing of essential positions.

The telecommunications network, like your home, requires power to function properly.  If commercial power goes out, backup batteries and generators in Verizon’s central switching offices or field facilities keep power flowing so customers’ phones ring even when the lights go out.  Verizon suggests customers prepare for Irene by taking the following steps:

Customer Check List

·        If you rely solely on cordless phones in your home, you should consider getting an inexpensive hard-wired phone that plugs directly into your home’s wall jacks.  Cordless phones will not function without commercial power, but corded phones will work in the event of a loss of commercial power.

·        Remember home answering machines won’t work without power, but Verizon voice mail service – which is powered by the network – will work and can serve as a convenient family message board.

·        Charge all battery-powered devices before the storm hits, including wireless phones and PDAs, laptop computers, personal entertainment devices (like MP3 players), flashlights and radios. And check your supply of batteries.

·        Many people keep all of their contact information in their PCs or wireless devices.  Make contact lists and create communications plans for loved ones before the storm hits.  If you are evacuated or are otherwise unreachable, make plans to communicate via wireless calling, text messaging, the Internet or other alternatives available at relocation sites.

·        Top off all vehicle and generator fuel tanks before the storm – gas pumps also rely on commercial power.

·        Check your local emergency-readiness authorities for their recommendations and advisories about the situation in your area. Be sure to check back with them if the situation gets worse.

·        If you live in a flood-prone area, protect sensitive equipment like computers and TVs by getting them as high above ground as you can so when service comes back up, you’ll be back in business quickly.

To Report Service Related Issues 

Customers can contact Verizon at 1-800-VERIZON (1-800-837-4966) or online at www.verizon.com/support to report any service-related issue.

Medfield Crime Statistics – ShangrI-La?

These crime figures and charts make Medfield look like a great place to live

http://www.cityrating.com/crime-statistics/massachusetts/medfield.html

1. Selectmen to meet Monday re MSH & 2. Storm Prep

1 – The Board of Selectmen will hold a special meeting on Monday to coordinate plans with the SHERC about how to respond to the current Medfield State Hospital clean up issues.  This morning the Conservation Commission issues a 31 page single spaced Order of Conditions in response to DCAM’s application seeking to cover both the oil in the river and the pollution at the C&D area adjoining the river.  Congratulations to the ConCom and its stand in agent, Norma Cronin, for yeoman service to the town to make this happen.

2 – Just reviewed the town’s Hurricane Irene preparations with Mike Sullivan – mainly planning for lots of rain and possible trees down.  Boards have been taken out of dams to lower water levels at ponds, chain saws readied, DPW employees are on stand by, the MEMA facility will function, Medfield High School will be the shelter if needed, the town’s tree service is contractually obligated to work for the town first before taking any private jobs, and a decision will be made later whether more transfer station days need to be added for brush disposal.

DCAM’s hand outs at the 8/19/11 meeting

At the 8/19/11 meeting the town had with DEP and DCAM, DCAM handed out the following materials – http://medfield02052.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/20110819-medfield-c-d-area-technical-meeting-attachments.pdf

These contains a summary of DCAM’s spending to date on the clean up at the Medfield State Hospital, and a summary of the current issues at each clean up site.

DCAM’s Take on the 8/19 Meeting

DCAM’s consultant circulated the following summary of the statekholders’ meeting that occurred on 8/19/11 at the behest of DEP -

====================================================

From: Davis, Steven C. [mailto:sdavis@rackemann.com]
Sent: Wednesday, August 24, 2011 4:12 PM
To: ‘Purvi Patel’
Cc: ‘david.paulson@state.ma.us’; Margaret Van Deusen; Michael Sullivan; William Massaro; Mark Baldi; Stella Tamul; John O’Donnell; ‘Meeker, Carol (DCP)’; Frank Ricciardi; Tony Zerilli
Subject: Medfield C&D Area IRA (EEA #14448R) Technical Meeting – August 19, 2011

 

Ms. Patel:

 

As required by the Secretary’s Condition #1 under Hazardous Material in the August 10 2011 Draft Record of Decision, the Division of Capital Asset Management (DCAM) is providing the MEPA Office and the commenters on the Notice of Project Change with a synopsis of the Stakeholder meeting held at the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s (MassDEP’s) Central Office at 627 Main Street, Worcester on Friday August 19th, 2011.  Attached are the meeting attendance sign-in sheets, a copy of the Agenda drafted by MassDEP, and the handouts from the meeting.

 

The intent of the meeting was to allow stakeholders, DCAM, and MassDEP to discuss technical issues regarding the proposed Immediate Response Action (IRA) plan for activities proposed for the contaminated sediments in the Charles River and for embankment remediation and stabilization on the eastern bank of the Charles River.  In addition, the draft focused Phase III feasibility study was to be reviewed.

 

Mr. Frank Ricciardi, P.E., LSP (the LSP of Record) presented the proposed IRA Scope of Work and touched on each of the items that are listed on the attached agenda. The meeting was then opened for questions on the proposed Scope of Work.  The major points of discussion were:

 

  • Removal of contaminated fill;
  • Relocation of the 24-inch high pressure natural gas line;
  • Use of riprap between ordinary low and high water lines;
  • Potential adverse impacts in addressing groundwater contamination;
  • Use of a capping approach to address sediment contamination in the Charles River; and
  • Phase III Remedial Alternatives.

 

Each of these points is discussed in the following paragraphs.

 

Removal of Contaminated Fill

 

Several stakeholders requested additional information on the limited removal of contaminated fill.  Questions were posed requesting full removal of all fill within the Construction and Demolition (C&D) Disposal Area, including those materials within the easement of the natural gas line.  Mr. Ricciardi responded, referencing text in MassDEP’s feasibility study guidance documents regarding active public utilities, that shutdown of a public utility even for a single day is considered infeasible and, therefore, contaminated material may remain in place within the easement.  There was discussion between the stakeholders and MassDEP regarding the applicability of the guidance document.  The result was that MassDEP indicated that the feasibility document applied to the C&D Disposal Area.  The Chairman of the SHERC indicated that he disagreed with MassDEP’s decision regarding the applicability.

 

Several stakeholders questioned that since the contaminated material within the natural gas line easement would remain, could additional fill be excavated to reduce the area of the C&D Disposal Area and the associated risk from contaminated material left behind.   DCAM and its consultants explained that for the northern portion of the C&D Area, the distance between the River and the gas line easement, combined with the need to create a more stable slope, constrained the amount of contaminated fill that could be safely removed without risk to the gas line.

 

For the remaining portion of the C&D Disposal Area, DCAM and its consultants indicated that, due to the contaminated fill remaining within the easement, the site could not be completely remediated (removed).  Some contaminated material will be left behind and regardless of quantity or location; the “risk” level remains the same.  Thus, the economics of removing thousands of tons of contaminated fill with negligible reduction of risk was not a fiscally responsible expenditure of taxpayers’ money.  Mr. Ricciardi indicated that for every 10 feet landward that the contaminated fill was removed, the cost was approximately $1,000,000.  The cost of total removal, even if it were feasible, would be about $20 million.

 

A concern was raised that leaving contaminated materials within the Zone II of the Town’s well No. 6 could jeopardize a public drinking water supply.  MassDEP indicated that the constituents present within the C&D Disposal Area had little risk of being conveyed by groundwater to Well No. 6.   The SHERC Chairman indicated that he was more concerned with the chlorinated solvents detected in groundwater at the Site.  DCAM responded that the groundwater issues would be addressed separately as part of the Special Project Designation (SPD) Phase II and Phase III process. This meeting was strictly to address the C&D IRA according to the agenda drafted by MassDEP.

 

Relocation of the Natural Gas Line

 

A resident of Medfield indicated that he was not satisfied that sufficient efforts had been made to relocate the gas line outside of the limits of the C&D Disposal Area.  He requested that a listing of the Spectra Energy representatives and their positions be provided together with meeting notes from discussions between DCAM’s consultants and Spectra Energy.  He insisted that additional efforts be made to have the gas line relocated.  This will not be done, since Spectra Energy has refused to consider relocating the gas line.

 

Riprap between ordinary low and high water lines

 

Several stakeholders expressed concerns that the use of riprap between ordinary low and high water was unacceptable due to aesthetics and adverse impacts to fauna that may migrate from the uplands to the River.  It was suggested that a bio-stabilization approach, such as brush layering, would allow vegetation to grow below high water and would be more satisfactory to fauna movements.  DCAM’s consultants indicated that due to its location, approximately 200 feet of embankment could be subject to high velocity currents during storm events and that erosion in the form of scour could undermine this area.  In addition, the liner that underlies the riprap is included to prevent a continuing release of contaminated fill to enter the River.  Without stable, robust protection, there is a high potential for a release in the future.  A suggestion was made that perhaps coconut logs could be used as the protection.  DCAM’s consultants indicated that the logs may not have the mass to withstand the forces in the River as well as needing to be replaced every six to ten years. It was also presented by DCAM that the total frontage in question is 200 feet out tens of miles of river frontage.  Fauna will still have other avenues of accessing the banks of the Charles, which are currently so steep at the proposed location that no fauna could navigate them as they currently are.  There will also be a construction fence around the Site, prohibiting upland fauna from accessing the banks for at least a year.  By the time the fence is removed and construction is complete, the riprap will have been in place for a period of time and vegetation will have taken hold, and the fauna will be able to navigate the reduced-slope banks and the vegetated riprap.

 

MassDEP requested DCAM to reconsider the proposed riprap armor and CWRA offered contact and provide information from the environmental firm the BioEngineering Group, whom they have been in contact with.  DCAM agreed to review any information provided by CRWA on this issue, but still believes that rip rap is the appropriate approach.

 

Potential adverse impacts in addressing groundwater contamination

 

Several stakeholders expressed concern that construction of the geomembrane and riprap would impede groundwater remediation, if required.  DCAM’s consultants indicated that lateral distance of twelve feet for the riprap and approximately 40 horizontal feet of geomembrane would not impede groundwater assessments or remediation activities.   (The 40 feet of geomembrane includes the 12 feet of geomembrane under the riprap.)  In addition, the sources of the chlorinated solvents in the groundwater are outside of the C&D Area and those locations are critical in accessing the groundwater for remediation.

 

MassDEP indicated that additional groundwater assessment activities would be required and may include passive diffusers and/or piezometers installed within the Charles River.  DCAM agreed that these types of sampling approaches may be warranted to address the chlorinated solvent issue.

 

A concern was raised that leaving of contaminated fill within the Zone II of Town Well No. 6 posed a threat to the drinking water supply of the Town of Medfield.  Please see the last paragraph above under the heading Removal of Contaminated Fill.

 

Capping Approach to Address Sediment Contamination in the Charles River

 

Several stakeholders expressed concerns that the use of a cap over the 800 square feet of contaminated sediment in the Charles River was unacceptable as the Commonwealth might place this material and not perform any additional response actions.  DCAM reiterated that initial decision to use the cap was to streamline the approval process through the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE) as only two to three months of permitting time could elapse before the seasonal low groundwater and Charles River levels would begin to rise.  Although initially this cap was considered as possibly being the final remedy for the contaminated sediment, further examination of the constraints associated with the Charles River indicated that the long-term operation and monitoring of the cap was cost prohibitive.  DCAM believes that the final remedy will consist of hydraulic dredging.

 

A question was raised as to why this work could not be performed next year’s low water conditions instead of proceeding with a cap at this time.   It was pointed out that the contaminated sediment may have been present for a long period of time.  MassDEP explained that once the condition was identified, remedial actions are required to address the issue.   DCAM explained that the 800 square feet that is currently identified may extend further downstream from its current location and would require additional assessments to delineate the impacted area and determine the appropriate remediation.

 

The CRWA asked why we were not using the hydraulic dredging now instead of wasting funds with a temporary solution.  DCAM explained that the USACOE had indicated in January 2011 that dredging was viewed as being the least desirable of potential options in addressing contaminated sediment and that a comprehensive review of other options need to be included to justify the dredging.  When the IRA condition was identified in May 2011, a decision was made to proceed with a minimum invasive approach (i.e. capping) such that permit review by the USACOE could be completed during low water conditions in the early fall of 2011.

 

Phase III Remedial Alternatives

 

The discussions regarding the Phase III remedial evaluation focused primarily on the selected remedial alternative for the impacted sediment within the Charles River. Mr. Ricciardi presented the results of the initial and detailed evaluation of potential remedial alternatives and presented the selected alternative for the sediment, which was hydraulic dredging. This selection was reached following the detailed evaluation of effectiveness, implementability, protection of human health and the environment, and cost. Based on the results and primarily due to the long-term maintenance and monitoring costs associated with the temporary capping solution, the hydraulic dredging alternative was selected as the Permanent Solution. The stakeholders and meeting representatives preferred a vacuum approach rather than a barge dredging approach due to the minimal equipment needs and non-invasive nature of the vacuum dredge.

 

Until such time when a dredging approach can be permitted and implemented, the temporary sediment cap installed under the IRA would be in place. We discussed the extent, construction details, material selection, site preparation, schedule and maintenance and monitoring required for this approach. The schedule for moving forward was also discussed as being time critical and all approvals need to be in place by September 2, 2011 to meet the project milestone of October 15, 2011 for completion of all work between the ordinary high water and seasonal low water elevations. Consensus was reached that this temporary solution made sense provided that DCAM was committed to the permanent solution of hydraulic dredging. Mr. Baldi indicated that he would condition the approval of the IRA to require the removal of the impacted sediments via hydraulic dredging.

 

Based on the timelines associated with permitting the selected remedial alternative of hydraulic dredging, the preliminary schedule would be as follows:

 

  • October 2011 – Implement preparation of the necessary permits including NOI, Army Corps General permit, and Chapter 91 Water Quality Certificate
  • December 2011 – Design plans and specifications for implementation of selected remedy (to be implemented as the Phase IV Remedy Implementation Plan)
  • April 2012 – Procure contractor under public bidding law for implementation of Phase IV remedy
  • September/October 2012 – project completion

 

A discussion ensued regarding if additional excavation of fill material would also be conducted as part of the Phase IV RIP. DCAM and Weston & Sampson indicated that the approach presented under the IRA would most likely be the final remedial alternative for this aspect of the project. We also discussed the remediation of chlorinated volatile organic compounds (CVOCs) in groundwater and that the selected approach would not impede future groundwater remediation. The chairman of the SHERC requested additional groundwater monitoring to show that surface water/groundwater interactions would not impact the Charles River and/or Town Well #6.  Weston & Sampson discussed that an evaluation of the Site hydrogeology would be included in the Phase II CSA report and that supplemental assessment activities would be required to further evaluate the these interactions and the extent of CVOCs at the Site. Groundwater concentrations will continue to be monitored on a quarterly basis to supplement the data and understanding of groundwater conditions at the Site for use in the design of the final groundwater remedial alternative.

 

Following completion of Phase IV activities at the Site, an Activity and Use Limitation would be established on the deed for the property for the area requiring restrictions to prevent unacceptable exposure to remaining impacted fill.

 

This email is copied to all of the commenters on the NPC.  We understand that you will accept additional comment on the NPC until Monday, August 29, 2011.  Please let me know of any questions that you may have on this summary or on any other aspect of the C&D Area IRA.

 

Best.

 

Steve

 

Steven C. Davis, PE President        

Rackemann Strategic Consulting, Inc.

160 Federal Street

Boston, Massachusetts 02110

Website: http://www.rackemann.com/strategic.html

Phone:   617/951-1146

Fax:       617/542-7437

Cell:      617/233-5327

Email:  sdavis@rackemann.com

Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/stevencdavisatrsc

DEP Email to PIP Member re Timing of MSH Clean Up

Bill Massaro queried DEP and got the response below -

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8/23/2011 11:42AM
RE: 1.) Friday’s Meeting;   2.) PIP Review Concerns
“Baldi, Mark (DEP)”
“wmassaro” mike sullivan  osler peterson  John Thompson  Andrea Stiller  “mvandeusen/crwa.org”  “Gardner, Mary (DEP)”  “ODonnell, John (DCP)” “Duran, Sandra (DCP)”
===========================================================
Bill,

Thank you for attending the meeting on Friday, August 19, to discuss the concerns of the Public Involvement Plan (PIP) petitioners regarding the IRA Plan and associated, focused Phase III feasibility evaluation for the C& Area at the former Medfield State Hospital.

Regarding the issue of steam pipe conduits and storm drains.  Utilities and drainage systems that could provide preferential migration pathways for groundwater contamination will need to be identified for the final Phase II Comprehensive Site Assessment Report.  Potential preferential migration pathways will need to be evaluated and assessed per 310 CMR 40.0835(4)(e)2, 40.0904(2)(c), and the SPD Permit approval; or eliminated as preferential migration pathways with substantiated Technical Justification, as per 310 CMR 40.0193, 40.0835(4), e.g. groundwater gauging, tracer tests, geophysical investigation, sampling, etc.

Regarding the PIP review period, the Phase III is a required integral part of the IRA Plan.  The MCP notes that time critical elements of an IRA may be conducted prior to close of the 20-day public comment period, pursuant to 310 CMR 40.01403(9)(h).  MassDEP considers the IRA as time critical to complete the construction work during the low water season in the river before mid-October and thereby contain and control further erosion of the bank and capping of petroleum-contaminated sediment in the river until dredging can be accomplished next year.  The substantive scope of work for the IRA was provided in the IRA Plan submitted on July 10, 2011, and the public comment period has been met for that submittal with the meeting of last Friday providing additional opportunity for comment.  Nonetheless, as the Phase III component was not posted to the public until August 16, MassDEP will extend the IRAP comment period, to include the Phase III evaluation, to ensure remedial actions are not conducted during the 20-day public comment period, and allow MassDEP to consider comments and issue a Conditional Approval of the IRA.   In particular, MassDEP would encourage PIP petitioners and stakeholders to provide specific alternatives to riprap, based upon site specific and engineering considerations.

MassDEP appreciates yours and other stakeholders attention to these matters to achieve a safe, environmentally beneficial, and cost-effective solution, meeting the Massachusetts Contingency Plan’s requirements of 310 CMR 40.0850.

Thank you,

Mark Baldi
Section Chief, Audits
Bureau of Waste Site Cleanup
MassDEP, Central Region
(508) 767-2803
========================================
From: wm massaro
Sent: Monday, August 22, 2011 2:11 PM
To: Baldi, Mark (DEP)
Cc: mike sullivan; osler peterson; John Thompson; Andrea Stiller
Subject: 1.) Friday’s Meeting; 2.) PIP Review Concerns

Mark,

1.)  Friday’s Meeting.  I want to  thank you for calling Friday’s meeting.

Like you, I was surprised by the number of attendees.  I had tried to get  some kind of scoping sessions started at the beginning of summer, and Commissioner Cornelison had seemed receptive, but if I understood reports by attendees from Medfield at  the first “technical” meeting, it seemed to be more heavily attended by the State’s administrative/financial staff than by environmental/engineering  types.

I was very disappointed that I had to bring up, in the face of DCAM’s apparent unwillingness to broach the subject,  the CVOC plume issue and then have to inquire if its remediation could be impacted by the planned IRA solution .   I appreciate your direction to DCAM  that additional sampling was required to determine if the plume had migrated under the river.   (Please note: Medfield had requested sampling closer to the river and sampling for migration under the river, in our 31 January 2011 CVOC Supplemental SOW Overburden Wells comment/concern submissions. My records indicate that responses from DCAM were not received until 6 July 2011, and migration under the river was not investigated as we learned Friday.)

Also, in my  May 2011 comments to the Interim Phase II report, I had asked about the impact of Storm or other water in the C&D Area based on the discovery of an hydrologic connection—- steam conduit between the upper campus to the PP area, and then to an inlet pipe to catch basins.  A drain manhole was found in the PP area but water flow testing indicated it was blocked and no discharge point was found.  In their 6 july 2011 response (e- copy not available, hardcopy mailed 18 july 2011) , DCAM replied only that steam pipe conduits were the “responsibility of the developer”.

Given the opportunity at Friday’s meeting to go over this response, I would’ve asked how or if the proposed activity in the C&D Area might unblock this or affect other unknown discharges in the area.

2.)  PIP Review Concerns :    As I have said  several times before, an incremental release of technical data throughout the entire SPD effort, but particularly release of the results from 2011 Phase II CSA sampling, if available for discussion  before the flurry of parallel NOI/IRA/NPC/USACOE approval/certification releases might have eased some of the frustration for the Town and facilitated the process for DCAM.

The Phase III Feasibility Evaluation for the C&D Area was released to the DEP Web-site on 8/16.  I am assuming that this document is subject to the PIP process. Public review and comment of this document was significantly impeded by unreleased Phase II CSA data because initial assessment could proceed only as far as identifying what was still needed to enable us to perform a complete review prior to a comment and concern submittal.  This missing/unreleased data list was submitted to DEP/DCAM on 17 August 2011 and  most of the requested information begann arriving mid-day on 18 August.

I believe that sufficient time should be allowed for PIP review of the  FE in light of the “new” and highly relevant data.   It is my understanding that 20 days is the MCP defined period for reviews.  If this is correct  I request your confirmation that the PIP group will be allowed this period, from the release of data on 18 August  to adequately assess and then comment on the FE,  before DEP approval of the remediation work is granted.

Thank you again for your continuing attention and assistance,

Bill

DEP, DCAM, & Town Meeting re MSH

Bill Massaro reports below on the out of the ordinary stakeholders meeting that DEP convened last Friday, 8/19/11, at its Worcester office (NB -where it was scheduled in the afternoon when I had to already be on the road to a wedding outside of Bangor, instead of the morning, I was unable to attend).  Bill follows Medfield State Hospital developments closer than anyone in town, and has been generous in sharing what he learns.  What follows is his report -
The “stakeholder” meeting called by DEP at their Worcester office Friday  afternoon lasted about three hours.  There were 19 attendees :   DEP–Mary Gardner, Mark Baldi, and Gary Dulmaine;  DCAM– Sandra Duran, John O’Donnell, and Craig Dunlop;  Weston & Sampson–Frank Ricciardi, Anthony Zerilli and Blake Martin; Charles River Watershed Association–Margaret Van Deusen, Kate Bowditch and Elise Leduc; Medfield –Mike Sullivan and Ann Thompson;  SHERC- John Thompson, Deb Bero and Andrea Stiller; PIP Group–John Harney and Bill Massaro.
The agenda was to resolve  the issues with DCAM’s proposed NOI/IRA to cover a small area of oil contamination in the river, and the riprapping( basically big chunks of stone armoring) to be put along 200 feet of the bank to keep the asbestos, and other contaminants in the river bank from eroding into the river. A swath about 50 feet wide and 200 ft long behind the riprap at the water’s edge would be removed/regraded and  replaced with clean fill.  A membrane cap covered with 3 ft of more clean soil would be placed over this new riverfront bank  and some (not all) of the remaining 3 acres of  C&D Area contaminated soil.   The in-river Aquablok cap was supposedly chosen because rapid approval from US Army Corps of Engineers was required to meet the DEP IRA deadline, and a dredging permit would have taken too long to secure.
We believe  that there is no  need to do this immediately, and that the contamination is decades old and is not actively eroding into the river.  Any remediation in the C&D Area should wait until DCAM’s pending release of the Final Phase II Comprehensive Site Analysis for the entire site including the C&D Area,  the Power Plant, and the CVOC migration issue completion.   DEP disagreed and insisted that DCAM must act now under the IRA.
In response to my questions about bid price, budget, and funding availability, DCAM advised that  there was no budget expiration date or other motive driving the schedule, just the requirement imposed by DEP..
The major concern for us is fear that what DCAM is proposing as a lower-cost, temporary measure, needing to be done now during low-water, would actually turn out to be permanent.    The property is slated for turnover to the Department of Conservation/Recreation, and it is entirely possible that neither they nor DCAM will have future funding to allow the appropriate cleanup, if we do not push for it now. This could leave the town and future development residents and other recreational users a state-sponsored, permanent  toxic landfill.
SHERC wants no riprap and wants more contaminated soil removed to protect the aquifer( Town Well #6 ) and future recreational users. SHERC is concerned about contaminated fill below groundwater being left in the C&D Area under the current plan, and the as yet incompletely defined extent of the chlorinated solvent plume extending down from the former laundry area, through the Power Plant area, and right up to the edge of the C&D Area at the riverbank.  DCAM would not discuss any alternatives involving removing contaminated material under the Algonquin Gas line which runs through the C&D Area, because Algonquin/Spectra “refused to allow it”, although no evidence of DCAM conversations with Algonquin was provided. DCAM would not consider removing more material up to the gas line easement(not under it) because it is too expensive and they do not have enough time to re-bid the increased scope of the job before the end of low-water conditions.
Despite requests to determine if the solvent plume has migrated under the river, DCAM has not performed any sampling there. ( Note: A new sample along the bank further downstream from the prior monitoring well closest to the river was taken at our request.  Data was provided on Thursday showing about 6 times ( 35 ug/liter) the level of CVOC’s from the earlier well’s 6.4 ug/l.   DCAM’s position was  that since the Groundwater 3 standard ( flow into the river) is 5000ug/l, this is not a concern. My position (and SHERC’s) was that the Groundwater 1 standard, which DCAM had previously committed to, is 5ug/l, and the plume is in the Zone 2 aquifer. I wanted assurances that whatever was done now would not impede any future clean up, i.e. everything now should be “temporary” until all the contamination issues, like the chlorinated solvent plume, and alternative remediations are fully identified. I also preferred that no riprap be used  because once it went down would be there forever; and if remediating the solvent plume in the Power Plant and C&D Area required access to what’s under the riprap, they wouldn’t be able to get to it. DEP said they would direct DCAM to sample for under-river migration of the plume.
CRWA doesn’t want riprap for mostly aesthetic reasons, and in-river they wish minimum disturbance from removal activity. They are concerned that subsequent removal of the in-river Aquablok cap for replacement by a permanent solution will be more disruptive than waiting to effect a permanent solution via cap or dredge.  Waiting until release of the Final CSA Report for any in-river remediation would provide ample time for securing any needed USACOE dredging approval.    In an attempt to compromise and allow DCAM to meet their low-water deadline, CRWA suggested that rather than riprapping 200 ft of bank, armor only the area of riverbank adjacent to where erosion has supposedly caused contamination of sediment.   DCAM stated that the bidding process did not allow sufficient time for seeking bids on the de-scoped job before the end of low-water.
Despite several statements that cost was not a major determinant of the remedial solution chosen,  DCAM repeatedly cited costs of removal of greater volumes of contaminated material as being budget, as well as schedule, prohibitive.  When the degree of emphasis on weighting cost in DCAM’s evaluation of  alternatives was questioned,  DCAM’s  Sandra Durand passed out a sheet showing that DCAM had already spent $3 million dollars on cleanup at the Hospital. She stated that this was evidence that the need to comply with DEP’s IRA during the current low-water season, not cost, was the principal factor in their selection of the proposed NOI/IRA remediation.  (Note: $2.6 million of the $3 million supposedly spent was on property being turned over to the Developer.  I believe that cleanup of potential contamination of a river and a public water supply on land  going  for public conservation/recreation use should be at least as important as cleanup of land going to development.)
DCAM did not offer any comment on SHERC’s John Thompson’s question of whether  a trade-off study comparing DCAM’s cost of additional contaminated debris removal vs. Medfield’s cost of losing a town well had been done and included in any evaluation of alternatives..
 In response to my questions about winning subcontractor bid price, DCAM advised that the winning bid was $1.7 million, and confirmed that there was no budget expiration date driving the schedule.  DCAM again stated that DEP’s IRA response requirements were driving the urgent remediation.
Discussion was heated at several points…..  It was clear to me that DCAM was not going to be dissuaded by any of our concerns or arguments. Despite their statements at the meeting that they had no choice but to comply with the IRA and had to move quickly to remediate during this low-water season, I thought it was obvious that they are determined to use the IRA  to their advantage to quickly get as much work done in the C&D Area as cheaply as they can.  They were unwilling to seriously discuss any of the alternatives put forth by CRWA and by John Thompson.
Although it is remotely possible that  some kind of DEP-enforced compromise might come out of the meeting and that DEP may put some conditions on the riverbank effort, it seems clear to me that this would only go a small way to what SHERC and CRWA wanted.  DEP could not be talked into delaying the riprap, and DCAM stated that their procurement process would not allow enough time to go out for revised bids(either for increased scope–remove more, or for decreased scope–less riprap) as long as DEP insists that the work must be done this low-water season ends on Oct 15.
The best outcome that could be expected under this low-water constraint is  that everything except the riprap and the capped band of soil behind it may be deemed “temporary” by DEP who may then require DCAM to address removing more of the remaining contaminated soil after the low-water work is done.  DEP could also request the additional sampling to better define the extent of the solvent plume under the river.
I do not believe that this is acceptable.
As noted above, DCAM has funding for the job that is not budget year constrained.  They have stated that, if not for the requirement imposed by DEP,  they could re-bid alternative work scopes, and next year could perform a mutually agreed remediation of the C&D area, the Power plant area, the CVOC plume next year, with the in-river work being done at next year’s low water.  DEP states that they cannot allow DCAM to delay the work because of the MCP.
I would propose the following to relieve both DEP and DCAM of the deadline burden imposed by the IRA:
It is my understanding that issuance of an Order of Conditions (OOC) by Medfield’s ConComm is pending.   This OOC is required before DCAM can begin work.  Within 10 days of issuance of the OOC, aggrieved parties may file an appeal to DEP requesting a Superseding OOC.  Within 30 days it is my understanding that DEP must review this protest and provide a Prompt Ruling or schedule a Prescreening Conference. This hearing must be held within 120 days of filing the appeal.  I would urge the town to promptly consider filing such an an appeal.  In addition I would urge meeting with Town Counsel to develop additional approaches should the appeal be denied.
Bill Massaro

Weekly Political Report – week ending 8/19/11

Elizabeth Warren Forms Exploratory Panel

Harvard law professor and previous nominee to head the new federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Elizabeth Warren filed paperwork with the Federal Elections Commission on Thursday to establish an exploratory committee as she considers a run in the 2012 U.S. Senate race to challenge Senator Scott Brown. Exploratory committees are used by potential candidates to raise money for travel, polling and other activities as they consider a potential campaign. Warren, who was named Special Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury by President Obama to help create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) established under the Dodd-Frank Act, also launched a website – www.elizabethforma.com – as a portal for voters to make a donation to the committee.

According to Warren’s spokesman Kyle Sullivan (former communications director to Gov. Patrick), “Elizabeth has spent the last week listening to people from across the Commonwealth as she considers a campaign for the U.S. Senate. She wants to continue this conversation and the exploratory committee will assist her in doing so.” Warren has been participating in house parties across the state, visiting New Bedford, Brockton, Arlington, Dorchester, Lexington, Jamaica Plain, and Cambridge. She plans to travel to Framingham, Shrewsbury, Springfield, Pittsfield, the Cape and the North Shore in the coming days and weeks.

According to Warren’s advisors, Warren will announce her final decision about a potential campaign after Labor Day. There are currently six declared Democrats in the race seeking to challenge U.S. Sen. Scott Brown in 2012: City Year co-founder Alan Khazei, Newton Mayor Setti Warren, Somerville activist Bob Massie, State Representative Tom Conroy of Wayland, Salem immigration lawyer Marisa DeFranco, and Newton engineer Herb Robinson. Former State Sen. Warren Tolman announced this week that he would not enter the race.
Mid-August Tax Collections Stagnate

Revenue Commissioner Navjeet Bal reported this week that mid-August tax collections are down $31 million compared to the same period last year. Through Aug. 15, tax collections totaled $584 million. The state’s benchmark for the month projects collections of $1.44 billion, an increase of $53 million or 3.8 percent. In a letter to the Legislature, Commissioner Bal said that lower withholding and sales tax collections were partly offset by higher corporate and business tax payments over the first two weeks of August. Withholding taxes through mid-August were down $38 million from the same period in August 2010.
Boston Area Prices Increase

On Thursday the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the consumer price index, which measures changes in the prices of food, clothing, shelter and other goods and services, has risen 3.4 percent over the past year for the Boston area. This is slightly lower than the 3.6 percent rise nationally. The bureau’s regional office also reported that higher gas prices had driven a 23.6 percent increase in the area’s energy prices over the past year.

 

Unemployment Rate in Massachusetts Holds Steady
The unemployment rate in Massachusetts held steady at 7.6 percent in July, despite the addition of 12,700 seasonal jobs. The state’s jobless count, which is 1.5% below the national rate of 9.1%, has remained constant for the last three months. Massachusetts added 56,800 jobs since July 2010 for a growth rate of 1.8 percent. While job gains were reported in education, health services, trade, transportation, and utilities, job losses were recorded in the information, construction and leisure and hospitality sectors. The Patrick administration advised that methodological changes implemented by the Bureau of Labor Statistics earlier this year are causing “volatile changes” to monthly job estimates.

 

 

John Nunnari, Assoc AIA
Executive Director, AIA MA
jnunnari@architects.org
617-951-1433 x263
617-951-0845 (fax)

MA Chapter of American Institute of Architects
The Architects Building
52 Broad Street, Boston MA 02109-4301
www.architects.org