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For immediate release:
January 9, 2001


Mary Ann Hill
(781) 283-2373

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- Wellesley College announced today its cleanup plans for the site of the former Henry Wood's Sons paint factory. The plan, selected after a thorough evaluation of remediation alternatives, has been approved by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), which has legal jurisdiction over the site.

"The safety of Wellesley College students, faculty, staff and visitors - and our neighbors - is our cardinal priority," said Diana Chapman Walsh, president of Wellesley College. "The cleanup plan we have chosen will protect human health and the environment and enable the College to reclaim this damaged ecosystem for generations to come."

The site is located on the western border of the campus, south of Route 135. It was acquired by the College in 1932 and maintained as open space. In the mid-1970s, with the advent of regulatory policies and greater environmental awareness, DEP notified the College that it had identified soils contaminated with paint pigments on and around the site of the former factory (which began operations in 1848 and continued for nearly 80 years). Since then, the College and DEP have been working together on site investigation and remediation actions, which have included the analysis of more than 4,000 soil, sediment, surface water and groundwater samples, and removal of more than 4,000 tons of contaminated material.

The College's cleanup sequence is expected to involve:

· Excavating an estimated 136,000 cubic yards of contaminated soils and sediment from the former factory site, sediment from Paintshop Pond and Upper Waban Brook and peat from the surrounding wetlands;

· Treating about 20,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil, using chemical reducing agents;

· Creating an area of clean soil (referred to as a "clean pad") in the existing northern wetland, at an elevation above the water table;

· Consolidating the excavated soils and sediment on top of the clean pad; and then

· Capping the consolidated soils and sediments within a permanent protective cover called an "engineered barrier," consisting of several layers of clean soil and synthetic materials.

The project is expected to begin in the spring of 2001 and take approximately 14 months to complete. Initial steps to prepare the site will include the removal of trees and other vegetation from 30 on-campus acres south of Route 135 and east of Paintshop Pond. This will enable crews access to the contaminated areas and to clean soils needed for use in the clean pad and engineered barrier. Throughout the site preparation and cleanup, the College and its contractors will install fencing and post signs around the work site, install air monitoring equipment, employ dust suppression methods and ensure that cleanup activities are fully protective of the health of workers and of the campus and area communities.

In addition to eliminating the contamination problem - and risks to human health and the environment - the cleanup will result in the restoration and re-vegetation of the southern wetland in its current location. Portions of the northern wetland will be restored and re-vegetated in its current location and new wetlands, larger than the existing northern wetland, will be created. New recreation and athletic fields also will be constructed. At the completion of the cleanup, the College will install monitoring wells to ensure groundwater quality. In addition, the existing walking path around Lake Waban (portions of which will be closed during the cleanup period) will be restored.

According to Steve Johnson, project manager at DEP's Metropolitan Boston-Northeast Regional Office, "DEP commends Wellesley College for taking on the cleanup of Paintshop Pond and adjacent areas that were contaminated by the former paint factory. We have worked very closely with College officials and their consultants on this cleanup plan, and we believe that it will meet the requirements of the law while resulting in a beneficial end-use for the College."

The College has undertaken a number of public outreach efforts as part of the ongoing cleanup, including hosting community and campus information sessions and preparing a series of fact sheets. Copies of the fact sheets and additional project information are available on the Wellesley College web site, at About/paintshop.html. A public information phone line has been set up to answer calls about the project; the number is 781-283-2788.

Barry Monahan, Assistant Vice President for Administration and Community Affairs, summed up the College's efforts by noting, "Throughout the cleanup effort, we look forward to continuing the dialogue with our campus and area communities. We believe that implementation of our cleanup plan will benefit the College and our many neighbors who enjoy walking the woods around Lake Waban."



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  • Office of Public Information
  • Date Created: July 25, 2001
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