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EPA Investigates Hazardous Waste Found in New England Home

Posted on November 19, 2019 by Lauren Scott

The EPA is stepping in to investigate buried waste at a house in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. The waste was found in July, 2018 and subsequent tests revealed elevated levels of lead and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in soil throughout the neighborhood.

Benzene, lead, and pentachlorophenol, a wood preservative, were also found in groundwater around the area. Drinking water was not affected however; most houses in the neighborhood have municipal water, the State said.
 

About Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)

Polychlorinated biphenyls are a group of organic chemicals that contain chlorine. Although these substances are no longer manufactured in the US, they can still be found in certain equipment, such as transformers.

Studies have found the substances to be probable human carcinogens, or cancer-causing chemicals. This can also cause birth defects when expecting mothers are exposed to PCBs.

PCBs are subject to 40 CFR 761 regulations as part of the Toxic Substances Control Act. This is because PCBs have been found to pose an "unreasonable risk to human health and the environment."
 
Be confident you know your responsibilities under the many EPA air, water, and chemical programs that impact your operations. Join us for the Complete Environmental Regulations Workshop in Atlanta, New Jersey, Salt Lake City, Chicago, and more in 2020! Workshops start January 23rd in Atlanta.  
 

Federal Investigators Stepping In

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection had been investigating the site since the waste discovery and requested Federal assistance in September 2019.

A Federal investigation has been authorized under the EPA’s emergency response and removal program, which is limited to projects that can be completed within a couple of years, at a budget of $2 million or less.

EPA officials admit it is too early to tell if remediation is necessary. Federal investigators plan to visit the site by the end of November to develop a course of action following more soil and water sampling in the neighborhood.
 

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