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Concerns Raised About Olin Site

May 28, 2019

WILMINGTON — A remediation report for the Olin site has sparked concerns that the town will activate contaminated water wells it closed years ago.

Earlier this month the Olin Corporation presented a remediation report to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Town of Wilmington. The report outlined remediation options for a number of issues including contaminated groundwater, Town Manager Jeff Hull said.

Included in the options was an option to activate the wells, upgrade the water treatment system and run the contaminated water through the system to decontaminate it.

The option’s inclusion in the report does not mean the town plans to open the wells. The goal of the report, as required by the EPA, is to outline all options and move forward from there, Hull said.

“The town has no intentions of reactivating the wells at this point,” Board of Selectmen Chairman Gregory Bendel said during the board’s May 21 meeting.

Located at 51 Eames St. and totaling 53 acres, Olin Chemical was a facility that produced specialty chemicals for rubber and plastics until 1986 when it closed, according to the EPA website. Waste disposal practices caused contamination both on and off-site. In 2002 the town had to close contaminated drinking water supply wells, and in 2003, had to close municipal supply wells in the Maple Meadow Brook aquifer, the EPA website said.

In April, the EPA announced that it had added the site to its Emphasis List. The site’s placement on the list means it will be a top priority for the administration. It is one of 15 sites on the list and is the only site in Massachusetts.

“We’re been dealing with this issue for such a long time,” said Hull. “We’ve known about it since the late 80s.”

The report is the latest step in a lengthy process to clean the site.

Through its consultant GeoInsight, the town will provide feedback on the report to the EPA no later than May 31.

The EPA will review the report and assess the options.

In the fall, the remediation plan will be opened for public comment, Hull said. The remediation plan will then be developed further.

On Tuesday night, an EPA representative will update the Board of Selectmen on work regarding the site.

Follow Emma R. Murphy on Twitter @MurphReports.

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