EPA: New Bedford Harbor Cleanup Work Going Well

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) New England regional office has just announced that the cleanup work of New Bedford Harbor (MA) is progressing very well.

According to the New England office, by late 2017, the total volume dredged from the harbor was approx. 180,000 cubic yards.

The total dredge volume far exceeds the past annual record of 82,000 cubic yards achieved in 2014 and 2016,” added the office.

During 2018 EPA anticipates that an additional 170,000 cubic yards will be dredged and disposed of in the Lower Harbor CAD Cell.

EPA is working tirelessly to return the New Bedford Harbor environment to a healthy state once again. Before the settlement was finalized, the cleanup timeline was estimated to take another 30-40 years, a worst case scenario that no one found acceptable,” the Agency said.

With the finalization of the settlement, EPA estimates the cleanup timeline to be 5-7 years.

The New Bedford Harbor is an 18,000-acre urban estuary with sediment highly contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and heavy metals.

From the 1940s until EPA banned the production of PCBs in the 1970s, two manufacturing facilities improperly disposed of industrial wastes containing PCBs, contaminating the harbor bottom for about six miles from the Acushnet River into Buzzards Bay.

The harbor was placed on EPA’s National Priorities List in 1982, and continues to require significant time and funding to clean up.