Moore, Donahue Call Upon State Authorities to Enforce Responsibility for Environmental Contamination

by | Nov 3, 2015

BOSTON – Following the discovery of additional hazardous waste materials on property recently purchased by the Worcester Regional Transit Authority (WRTA), Senator Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury) and Representative Daniel M. Donahue (D-Worcester) submitted a letter to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) requesting that a proper Notice of Responsibility be issued for decontaminating the property, which is estimated to cost over $3 million.

Last year, the WRTA purchased eleven acres of land from the energy company Eversource (formerly NSTAR) off of Quinsigamond Avenue in the City of Worcester. The property, which was once home to a manufactured gas plant, has been recognized as having significant deposits of toxic chemicals including cyanide and coal tar sludge.

In 2013, it was estimated that removing the contaminants from the property would cost approximately $15 million. Prior to purchasing the property, the WRTA relied on information disclosed by Eversource relative to the level of on-site contaminants.

With the support of local leaders, the City’s Legislative Delegation and the Patrick Administration, approximately $16 million in state funding was authorized and expended to decontaminate the property.

However, the recent discovery of unreported underground tanks possessing grossly contaminated petroleum soils, and the presence of asbestos, have led to unforeseen cleanup expenses totaling millions of additional dollars.

“The taxpayers of the Commonwealth have already footed a $16 million bill to decontaminate the property,” said Sen. Moore. “The WRTA was never made aware of these additional hazardous materials which pose a significant threat to the environment. As the state agency responsible for ensuring the timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites, Rep. Donahue and I are requesting that DEP issue a Notice of Responsibility to Eversource.”

“The mounting costs of cleaning up the WRTA site has pushed the Senator and I to request that DEP take action,” said Rep. Donahue. ‘The full extent of contamination was not realized at the sale of this land. After already asking the taxpayers to spend $16 million in cleanup costs, I believe we need to make sure we protect every tax dollar before continuing to commit more state funding to this cleanup.”

Sen. Moore and Rep. Donahue now await a response from DEP relative to their request.