The Environmental Protection Agency will be removing PCB-laden soils from upper harbor shoreline areas in New Bedford and Fairhaven in 2021, and a virtual public meeting is set for January 13.

The work is being done pursuant to a 1998 Record of Decision for the New Bedford Harbor Superfund Site, along with remedial work plans for the area, the EPA said in an announcement.

The next area to be remediated is the shoreline and salt marsh area in Fairhaven from Pleasant Street to Veranda Avenue. The cleanup work is scheduled to last from January to July. PCB-contaminated sediment will be excavated and disposed of off-site. The area will be backfilled with clean soil and planted with native grasses, trees, and shrubs. A temporary earthen berm will be constructed at the Veranda Avenue inlet to keep out the tidewater. Inland stormwater will be pumped over the berm. An emergency spillway will ensure that flooding of adjacent areas does not occur, according to a Dec. 2 letter to neighbors from EPA project manager David J. Dickerson. Air monitoring will be performed to ensure the work is being done safely, the letter states.

US EPA

Shoreline areas across the upper harbor in New Bedford are also slated for remediation in 2021. The effort follows previous completed shoreline work in New Bedford and Acushnet.

The EPA in a presentation touts its 2020 accomplishments. All subtidal dredging in the harbor is complete. Seven upper harbor sediment caps are now in place. In New Bedford, a rail-accessible dewatering facility on Hervey Tichon Avenue was decontaminated and transferred to the city, and a harbor-facing property known as parcel 265 was reconstructed, the EPA said.

And although conditions are said to be improving, the EPA still recommends that people not eat seafood harvested from the upper harbor, including fish, shellfish and lobster.

The EPA's virtual meeting to discuss its 2021 Superfund cleanup activities in New Bedford and Fairhaven is set for Jan. 13 at 6 p.m. It will be hosted on the Microsoft Teams app. A call-in option is also available. Instructions for joining the meeting will be posted at epa.gov/superfund/newbedford. Those with questions may contact Zanetta Purnell at (617) 918-1306 or at purnell.zanetta@epa.gov.

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