EPA to use former police station to temporarily store contaminated soil

Jan 30, 2023

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will have new space to store contaminated soil from its cleanup of five homes in Dartmouth’s Bliss Corner neighborhood: the former police station on Russells Mills Road, which the agency also uses as a command post.

The request was made during the Select Board’s Jan. 30 meeting.

At the time, contaminated soil was stored at 85 McCabe St., but Dartmouth Public Health Director Chris Michud said the site had “some limitations” and that the federal agency would like to consolidate things to a single base of operations as it begins to wrap up work.

The clean-up, which began this past summer, is the result of years of investigation.

Contaminants were first identified in the neighborhood during the demolition and replacement of a single-family home on McCabe Street in 2018. That same year, the state began looking into reports of historic dumping in the neighborhood dating back to the 1950s.

After confirming that the soil was contaminated with dangerously high levels of lead and polychlorinated biphenyls — also known as PCBs — the agency approved a plan to remove the contaminated soil from five properties which exceeded the agency’s “removal management level.” Each of the homes are currently occupied.

During Monday’s meeting, Michaud assured officials and residents that the federal agency will be diligent in using liners and covers to control dust and prevent migration of contaminated soil to the former police station — much like they have at the McCabe Street site.

Those measures will also be in place while transporting the hazardous earth to a special out-of-state landfill.

The request was unanimously approved by the Select Board, with members praising the EPA for its work in restoring the South Dartmouth neighborhood.

“It’s like a golf course there,” Board Chair David Tatelbaum said.