Commencing later in August the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be removing contaminated soil from residential properties near Gallows Hill Park. Contamination on these properties may consist of elevated levels of arsenic and is presumed to have originated from former Tannery operations on the site, long before it was redeveloped.
During testing being conducted in preparation for planned improvements at Salem’s Gallows Hill Park the City of Salem found that soil samples taken on a portion of the soccer field area and abutting residential properties showed elevated arsenic levels. The City alerted the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, notified residents abutting the soccer field, and restricted access to the park while it develops a plan to address the contaminated soil. EPA conducted additional sampling of residential properties adjacent to the park in the neighborhood.
WHAT RESIDENTS SHOULD EXPECT
Based on results from EPA’s sampling this summer, EPA will be mobilizing to the Gallows Hill neighborhood towards the end of August to conduct a removal action on three residential properties. A trailer will be placed at a nearby location to provide access to the properties for EPA’s equipment. Soil being removed from residential properties will be staged on site before it is shipped to an appropriate landfill. Dust suppression techniques will be used during the soil removal to keep any contaminated soil from migrating off-site via dust. Contaminated soil being staged will be covered, and access will be restricted to the area where it is being staged.
EPA expects the work to take a couple of months. Contractors will be onsite and working during normal working hours. EPA is coordinating with the City on traffic patterns and truck routes being used during soil disposal to reduce impact to the neighborhood. Once a trailer is on site EPA will be holding office hours to answer any questions neighbors might have.
REMEDIATION AND RENOVATION OF CITY PARKLAND
The City of Salem is in the process of developing a plan, schedule, and funding source for the remediation of the arsenic-contaminated soils within the fenced area at Mansell Field. In the meantime, the City is now selecting a contractor to complete the renovation of the other parts of Gallows Hill Park, including upgrades to the baseball field, reconstruction of the skatepark, and related trail and drainage improvements. This park renovation project is expected to be completed by June 2020.
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