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~Wellesley College and Commonwealth Reach Agreement on Cleanup~

For immediate release:
September 8, 2001


Arlie Corday

WELLESLEY, Mass. - Wellesley College and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have entered into a settlement agreement relating to the cleanup of the site of the former Henry Wood's Sons Company paint factory. The paint factory operated near the shores of Lake Waban from approximately 1848 to the mid-1920s.

The settlement agreement calls for the College and the Commonwealth to share the cost of dredging and removing sediments contaminated by the paint factory's operations from the Northern Shoreline and Western Cove sections of Lake Waban. This portion of the lake will be dredged in conjunction with the College's ongoing cleanup of soils and sediments located on the paint factory land and in Paintshop Pond. The agreement resolves a dispute between the parties as to who is responsible for cleaning up this portion of the lake. The College has denied liability for the lake, which is owned and operated by the Commonwealth.

"The settlement between the College and the Commonwealth ensures an innovative, expeditious, and cooperative solution to the legacy of pollution that the paint factory left on the College's land and in the northern portion of the lake," said President Diana Chapman Walsh. "Although Wellesley College did not cause this contamination, we are ensuring that the site will be cleaned up in a manner that protects human health and the environment."

Having played no role in the operation of the factory or in the pollution it left behind, the College acquired the paint factory land in 1932 as a place for possible campus expansion. The buildings then remaining from the paint company operations were razed. The College never "operated" the paint company property and the land on which it was situated remained essentially undeveloped after the College acquired it. Since the discovery of the contamination, the College has protected its students and the general public from any risks posed on its land. Now the College is undertaking a permanent solution that will restore beauty and function to this part of the campus.

After working with regulatory agencies for many years, Wellesley College this spring began a major cleanup of the former paint factory site to alleviate a substantial source of contamination. The project, which requires an investment by the college of more than $26 million, entails the excavation of wetlands, uplands, and Paintshop Pond. A portion of the soils will be treated, and excavated materials will be consolidated under a permanent engineered barrier designed to prevent water from entering and contamination from exiting or leaching to the surface or groundwater. At the end of the project, now scheduled for next summer, excavated areas will be re-vegetated, more than six acres of wetlands will be restored and improved, and athletic fields will be constructed in the area. Fact sheets and other information on the cleanup are available on the web at PSP/ or by calling 781-283-2788.



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