On July 28th, NSRWA Executive Director Samantha Woods attended the Hanover Conservation Commission public hearing to review a request by the Fireworks Site Joint Defense Group to dredge contaminated sediments, co-located with munitions of explosive concern from an area of Middle and Lower Factory pond, referred to as the High metal Density Area, located in Hanover. The Former National Fireworks Site is being remediated under the Massachusetts Contingency Plan which is overseen by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. The Fireworks Joint Defense Group consists of the Department of Defense, Kerr-McGee Chemical Corporation, Susquehanna Corporation, National Coating Corporation, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Read more about the history of the Fireworks Site and its clean up and our previous comments regarding the clean up.

Dredging is proposed to be done “in the wet” and with 1,540 linear feet of composite sheet piling placed around 4.57 acres within Factory Pond to allow for approximately 22,500 cubic yards of sediment to be dredged from the pond. The dredged material will be dewatered onsite on impermeable liners and then trucked offsite to a licensed disposal facility. The sheet piling is meant to contain any sediments in the water column during dredging and will remain in place until the remainder of Factory Pond is dredged. 

This phase is largely focused on alleviating the potential hazards associated with the potential unexploded munitions at the site and in the pond, but will also remove contaminated sediment from the pond to background levels with a goal to reduce the body burden of mercury in resident fish and aquatic species that may be consumed by people. Once the immediate hazards are removed, the next phase will include further removal of contaminated sediments at the site to remove mercury and lead to background levels and reduce these contaminants in the aquatic food chain. 

In addition to the cleanup being proposed at Factory Pond, MassDEP is taking samples this summer downstream from Factory Pond to further identify if contamination from the Fireworks Site has migrated downstream to Luddams Ford and beyond. Initial samples taken by the Fireworks Site Defense Group indicated contamination in sediments downstream but determined the contamination was not from their site and was likely due to other sources. The MassDEP effort is meant to provide further information regarding the validity of that statement. 

We are glad to see the process moving forward to clean up the contaminated sediments at the site. We believe that the goals that are proposed are attainable and will remove the contamination from the pond and surrounding areas to allow for the fish to be eaten again from the resource in the future. We are concerned that there has been migration of contaminants downstream. The MassDEP data collection should provide insight into this and we will keep you posted on their results. 

Click here to see the Expanded Environmental Notification Form and Project Narrative for the proposed
dredging at Factory Pond.

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