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EPA Will Coordinate with City of Somerville to Remove Contamination at Conway Park

Contact Information: 
David Deegan (
(617) 918-1017

BOSTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reached an agreement with the City of Somerville, Massachusetts, to perform field assessments and removal activities to address soil contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), lead, and potentially other hazards at Conway Park.

The 2.8-acre site, located at 550 Somerville Avenue, is owned by the City and features a heavily used recreational complex that includes a large ballfield and children's playground. Currently the entire ballfield area is closed to the public, and only a portion of the playground is open. The park is in a densely populated area resulting in a great likelihood of use (and subsequent exposure to hazardous substances) by children.

"This project is a great example of the federal government working closely with our state partners and a local community to ensure public health protection at a much-needed and utilized public park in a densely populated area," said EPA New England Regional Administrator Dennis Deziel.

The City has worked closely with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) and a consultant since 2017 to perform soil sampling at Conway Park to define the nature and extent of contamination. In April 2019, MassDEP formally requested EPA Removal Program assistance with the remediation of soil at the Site, notably where elevated PCB concentrations are present as a direct contact risk and above 50 milligrams per kilogram (parts per million) in subsurface soils.

EPA will work closely with the City of Somerville and the local community during response activities. The Site is being addressed under a carefully coordinated mixed-work approach, with EPA expected to spend up to approximately $3 million in cleanup work. The City of Somerville will perform the rest of the work (estimated to cost at least $3 million) under the terms of the settlement agreement. The cleanup is designed to eliminate the direct contact threat and remove the source contamination by excavating and disposing of soils contaminated with PCBs and lead, and potentially other hazardous substances.

EPA anticipates that the overall cleanup will include: site preparation (e.g., tree/vegetation removal, utility decommissioning, access roads, site security, etc.); removal activities (including excavation, transportation, and disposal of PCB-contaminated soil); and site restoration.

Notice of the EPA cost compromise included in the settlement agreement will be published in the Federal Register for 30 days to provide persons who are not parties to the proposed settlement an opportunity to comment, solely on the cost recovery component of the settlement.