Bliss Corner contaminants don’t pose ‘imminent hazard’

Jun 19, 2019

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection released soil test results on June 12 showing high levels of toxic chemicals at four sites in the Bliss Corner neighborhood of Dartmouth — although none poses an “imminent hazard” to residents.

MassDEP began an investigation into soil contamination in the neighborhood last fall after toxic chemicals were found at construction sites on Kraseman and McCabe streets. 

According to the initial soil test results released last week by MassDEP (and available in a downloadable pdf above), contaminants including lead, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were found at 14 of 18 locations — all town-owned streets — tested in the area.

Contaminant levels exceeded standards for residential areas at only four of the soil sampling locations: two on McCabe Street, one on East Wordell Street, and another on Donald Street.

Even at these locations, the report states that “none of the concentrations...would pose a significant risk to health, safety, public welfare, or the environment if present for even a short period of time.”

MassDEP spokesperson Ed Coletta said that the agency will determine which private properties in the area should be tested and gain approval for soil testing on those properties.

If further action is necessary, he said, MassDEP will work with the homeowners to resolve the issue.

According to the report, other next steps will be determined by a forthcoming report on groundwater sampling. The report also noted that the agency is continuing to investigate the parties responsible for dumping on the properties.

Another public meeting to share updates from the investigation and answer questions from residents will likely take place in late summer.

The first public meeting was held at Dartmouth High School on March 21.