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~College Begins Preliminary Work on Paintshop Pond Cleanup~

For immediate release:
April 16, 2001


Mary Ann Hill
(781) 283-2373

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- Wellesley College has begun site preparation work in anticipation of its upcoming cleanup of the site of the former Henry Wood's Sons paint factory on the western edge of campus. Beginning this week, eight-foot high fencing will be installed around the perimeter of the project area as a safety measure. An approximately 1/3 mile portion of the path around Lake Waban will remain closed until the project is completed in the summer of 2002.

Once the fencing has been erected and the site is secure, around April 30, the college will begin to remove trees and other vegetation from 30 on-campus acres south of Route 135 and east of Paintshop Pond. The land must be cleared in order to allow work crews access to the contaminated areas and to the clean soils that will be used to contain the contaminated soil.

The former paint factory 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, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (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

· 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 now is project to take approximately 18 months to complete. 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 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.

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 from the college by calling 781-283-2788 or by visiting the Paintshop Pond web site (click here).


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  • Office of Public Information
  • Date Created: July 30, 2001
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