Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


November 21, 2013

Town hits back on tainted sludge, water charges

New report asserts 'no significant risk to human health'


Instead, the toxic material remaining in the wetland, which contains traces of lead and arsenic, among other substances, is from adjacent roadways and runoff from an old apple orchard, it says.

“There is a separate condition in the wetland unrelated to the release of sediment from the drinking water tank,” according to the town’s report.

The Nov. 7 report quotes a 2012 CDM-Smith report stating that “overall, the report concluded that ... the tank bottom sediment was not a source of the elevated metal concentrations in the wetland. The report further concluded that ... sources of the elevated metals in the wetland were consistent with sources associated with vehicle traffic along South Main Street and former orchards in the drainage area of the wetland.”

Urbelis said that not only does the CDM-Smith report show that the material in the wetland is not the responsibility of the town, it indicated that the material still left on the site is not hazardous to people who may be walking by.

“Two imminent hazard evaluations were completed for the wetland on behalf of the town,” the report says. “Mass DEP reviewed these evaluations and concurred with the conclusion that an imminent hazard condition is not present for likely human receptors at the wetland.”

The report further says, “For a resident in contact with both sediment and surface water in the (area’s) wetland, the overall cumulative risk is well below ... cancer and noncancer risk limits.”

Berberian said last week that his team of experts is reviewing the town’s engineering report.

He said he hadn’t read the entire report, but that it looked very similar to a previous report filed by the town that was rejected by the DEP.

Officials: No issues with water supply

Meanwhile, town officials continue to deny Berberian’s allegations that the sludge that was taken out of the bottom of the Bancroft water storage tank may have somehow gotten into the town’s water supply.

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