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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has removed the Shpack Landfill, a superfund site located in Attleboro and Norton, Massachusetts, from the National Priorities List (NPL, aka Superfund). Deleting sites from the NPL may occur once all response actions are complete and all cleanup goals have been achieved. EPA added the site to the NPL in 1986.

EPA and the State of Massachusetts concluded that all appropriate Superfund financed responses under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), have been implemented and that no further cleanup by responsible parties is appropriate for the Site, except for wetland restoration monitoring. Moreover, EPA and the Massachusetts have determined that cleanup actions conducted at the site to date continue to be protective of public health and the environment.

The Shpack Landfill operated as a private landfill from 1946 to 1965. It received industrial and domestic wastes, with the major use of the landfill occurring between 1951 and 1965. A court order closed the landfill. In 1978, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) was contacted by a citizen who detected elevated radiation levels at the site. The NRC investigated and confirmed the presence of radioactivity above natural levels. The primary contaminants found were radium-226, uranium-238 and uranium-235.

It is not known exactly when these radioactive materials were deposited, but an NRC investigation determined that the former M&C Nuclear, Inc., of Attleboro (which merged with Texas Instruments, Inc., in 1959) had used the landfill for the disposal of trash and other materials, including zirconium ashes, associated with nuclear fuel operations at the facility from 1957 to 1965. In 1980, the site was added to the Department of Energy’s Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP) to address the legacy of the nation’s early atomic energy programs. Responsibility of FUSRAP was later transferred to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

Cleanup of the site was implemented in two parts, first with the USACE completing the FUSRAP remedial action to address the radiological contamination in 2011, followed by the CERCLA or Superfund remedial action to address non-radiological contamination.

EPA expects that no further Superfund response is needed at this Site to protect human health and the environment. Following standard procedure for completed cleanup work under Superfund, EPA will continue to conduct reviews of the Site every five years, starting in 2018, to ensure that human health and the environment remain protected. EPA may initiate further action to ensure continued protectiveness at a deleted site if new information becomes available that indicates it is appropriate. The first statutory five year review report will be completed prior to June 12, 2018.

Published in the January 2018 Edition