Impervious to scrutiny by much of the nation’s population, many superfund sites are sprawled throughout the nation, still as toxic and pernicious as ever. 31 of them are located in Massachusetts, which many seem like an unassuming location for most of the country. Some examples of these superfund sites and their environmental implications are as follows:
- Industri-Plex in Woburn-Contaminated groundwater mitigation still isn’t control
- Iron Horse Park in Billerica-Human exposures are not under control and EPA is currently working on its progress.
- New Bedford Site in New Bedford- Human exposures are not under control and EPA is currently working on its progress.
- Nuclear Metals, Inc. in Concord-There is insufficient data to determine migration control status
- Blackburn and Union Privileges in Walpole- Contaminated groundwater mitigation still isn’t control
Though some sites have continual observation by the Environmental Protection Agency, these superfunded sites still present problems from people living in their vicinity, such as prolonged chemical exposure. There are even many toxic sites scattered throughout Massachusetts that didn’t make the Superfund list-a number ranging between 3,000 and 5,000. The sites that make the Superfund list are the ones that pose immediate and imminent health risks.
The EPA estimates it spends more than $1 billion dollars on contaminated sites in Massachusetts every year. Six facilities on the lists are actually military compounds, and are especially troublesome to clean up. The difficulty of cleaning up Superfund sites is they require advanced, sophisticated technologies to remove heavy pollutants. Once toxins get into soil and groundwater, they are extremely hard to extract. It often times takes decades to perform this task completely.
Congress has slowly been appropriating more funds to cleaning up toxic sites after almost dissolving the fiscal contribution in 2003. It is going to take the efforts of the Federal Government and EPA to collaborate and figure out how to address these problems sooner than 50 year projections that are already being discussed. The growth of large scale pollutions will have serious repercussions in years to come.