By Alex Lippa
---- — PLAISTOW — This summer will be an active one at the Beede Waste Oil Superfund site.
Cleanup is continuing at the 40-acre site off Main Street. Opening an on-site water treatment plant will be the next milestone.
“There’s a lot going on right now,” said Greg Howard, spokesman for the Beede Group. “But everything is on target.”
The Beede Group includes the companies deemed responsible for dumping hundreds of thousands of gallons of contaminants dumped at the site between 1920 and 1994.
The site was declared a Superfund site in 1996. Ten years later, 12 companies, including Exxon and Sears, agreed to fund a $45 million cleanup.
Recently, the cleanup is kicked into high gear.
In the last few weeks, the first phase of removing contaminated soil was completed. Hundreds of truckloads of soil were taken to a landfill in Rochester this spring.
“Our initial trucking is over,” Howard said. “We probably won’t be doing any trucking for at least a couple years.”
The next step is opening up the water treatment plant. It is expected to open by the end of the summer.
“We are working on the plumbing for the plant right now,” Howard said. “We have a few ways to extract the water, treat it and get the water back into the Earth.”
The system will remove the contaminated groundwater at a rate of 160 gallons per minute. After it is treated, the water is injected into wells or possibly into Kelley Brook. The process is expected to take between 15 to 30 years before New Hampshire groundwater standards are met.
A steam extraction system for contaminated deep soils is also in the final stages of being designed. The system is expected to be delivered to Plaistow this summer.
Town Manager Sean Fitzgerald said he was pleased with the work being done.
“It’s a safe and efficient remediation of contaminants,” Fitzgerald said. “We are hopeful that the remediation schedule will support a significant amount of progress and we can begin to think more optimistically.”
Neighbors said they have noticed the work being done on the site, but there have been few problems.
“There’s never any disruption,” said Kathy Davidson, who has lived on Shady Lane for 25 years. “Once in a while I would hear the trucks going back and forth, but other that there is no problem.”
Ruth Bennett of Shady Lane said things were better now than they were in the past.
“At one time, there was some oily smells,” she said. “But recently, it’s been fine.”
Deputy police Chief Kathleen Jones said she couldn’t remember the last time the town received any complaints about the site.
“They’ve been working very well there,” Jones said. “We haven’t received any calls for noise or any disturbances as of late.”
While the cleanup process is going well, things have been contentious in the past between the town and the Beede group.
In 2011, the town and the Beede group debated over the route which trucks with contaminated soils would take when leaving the facility. The town was concerned about the trucks passing by schools.
Last year, the group constructed a temporary access road and razed a home on Main Street, which the town opposed.
The town and the Beede group continue to be at odds over taxes as well.
Fitzgerald said the town is still appealing a decision made by the New Hampshire Board of Tax and Land Appeals over more than $1 million in unpaid taxes on the property. The board ruled that the Beede group is not responsible for paying the taxes. Fitzgerald said it was unknown when the New Hampshire Supreme Court would hear the town’s appeal.
Howard said there has been a recent effort to keep the public informed on all developments. The group runs a Facebook page with weekly updates and photos and just recently launched a website.
“We want to make sure there are no surprises with anyone involved,” he said. “We want people to contact us through either medium if they have questions or concerns.”
More information about the project is available at beedewasteoilsite.com or by searching “Beede Clean Up” on Facebook.