DARTMOUTH — The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection is looking into how toxic waste made its way into a Dartmouth neighborhood.

The discovery of elevated levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other contaminants on Kraseman and McCabe Streets in the Bliss Corner area was made during a site visit in December 2018. Authorities with the Mass. DEP and the Dartmouth Board of Health found evidence of urban ash fill at several sites in the residential neighborhood.

The area under investigation now encompasses over a dozen streets in about a quarter-square-mile.

Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection

A contractor has been hired by the DEP to test soil and water samples at multiple locations in the area.

DEP's investigation now turns to how the PCBs came to be in the neighborhood. The evidence of urban ash fill and the items found indicate the area may have been a dump site in the early 20th century. Articles from the Standard-Times from the late 1930s say the area was used by the City of New Bedford as an unloading site for garbage and ash.

The DEP is working to discover who dumped the contaminated material in the now residential neighborhood. The persons or agencies responsible could be held liable for cleanup costs under state law.