Contaminated soil at Easton Shovel Works

Source:, February 16, 2012
By: Susan Parkou Weinstein

Tank, dirt removal planned

Consultants on the Ames Shovel Works project recently assured selectmen any contaminated soil would be removed from the site by the developer at no cost to the town.

Joseph Shea and Lisa Campe of Woodward & Curran said several contaminated pockets were found after extensive sampling and testing but the discovery was typical for the redevelopment of former industrial and historical sites.

They said they were working with the developer, Beacon Communities, to make sure the town’s interests were protected.

Campe said a fuel storage tank, used to heat the former shovel factory,and some contaminated soil had been previously removed by the current owners, Robert and George Turner.

More recent testing found another fuel tank and pockets of metals from shovel manufacturing, as well as evidence of petroleum under a building known as the steam hammer shop. The petroleum is locked in by a slab that is acting as a protective barrier. The building can be used for any purpose as long as the slab is not breached.

Beacon will also be removing the tank and about 500 cubic yards of soil from the town’s conservation and sewer easements while constructing the condominiums, absorbing all costs and giving the town third party oversight.

The site is part of the town’s protected aquifer zone and traces of residual petroleum indicate “nothing alarming,” Campe said.

All material and all sources of potential contamination must be removed or controlled and pose “no significant risk” to human health on residential or recreational properties, waterways or the environment, she said.

“The good news is the groundwater is very clean right now. The most recent sampling shows it meets drinking water standards,” she said.

Beacon will be filing a release abatement measure (RAM) with the state Department of Environmental Protection and the town. The goal is to make sure there is no risk for contamination and no need for remediation in the future. Beacon will be submitting the RAM plan to the state before it closes on the property.

Shea recommended the town agree to the RAM, saying Beacon had “raised the bar” to protect the town’s interest.

Town Administrator David Colton agreed.

“We’ve done everything we can as a town and Beacon has done everything it’s supposed to do and did it quickly,” he said.

Selectmen Chairman Colleen Corona noted the contaminated soil had been on the site for many years.

“I’m happy they’re going to be removed at no cost to the town,” she said. “What’s there is not going to be there anymore.”

On Monday, selectmen signed off on several conservation and sewer easements. Rebecca Lee, the town’s special counsel on Shovel Works, said the easements would not become official until Beacon purchased the property from the Turners sometime in March.

Beacon President Howard Cohen said the company was ready to close the deal after months of delays. He said the project should be completed in approximately16 months.

“We really need to closer by the end of March and need to get into construction by April 1,” Cohen told selectmen.

The Ames Shovel Works Project was approved by Town Meeting and will include affordable housing, historical preservation and open space.

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