EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

December 23, 2013

Beede Superfund cleanup on schedule

Group has begun treating water

By Alex Lippa
alippa@eagletribune.com

---- — PLAISTOW — Things are going according to schedule at the Beede waste oil site. The group recently started treating polluted groundwater through its new treatment facility.

“At this point, the facility is fully operational,” Beede spokesman Greg Howard said. “We are doing very intensive monitoring and the trial run has been excellent so far.”

Seventeen years ago, federal environmental officials put Beede on the Superfund list, which targets hazardous waste sites for cleanup.

The Beede Group includes companies deemed responsible for the cleanup of hundreds of thousands of gallons of contaminants dumped at the 40-acre site off Main Street from 1920 to 1994.

A dozen companies, including Exxon and Sears, agreed seven years ago to fund a $45 million cleanup.

Howard said the group started extracting groundwater on Dec. 2. The group’s new treatment facility opened this fall and is able to extract 130 gallons per minute.

“Right now, we are in a probational period, where we’re looking at everything in a very intensive fashion,” Howard said. “We’re looking at a lot of data and doing any tweaks that are needed to the system. So far, everything’s going according to plan.”

The Beede Group estimates it will take 15 to 30 years to treat the contaminated water.

The group is regularly testing surrounding water areas.

“We continue to test Kelly Brook every day,” Howard said. “We want to make sure the local water levels haven’t changed while we are doing this.”

While the Beede Group continues to clean up the site, the town is still maintaining that Beede owes more than $1 million in taxes. The New Hampshire Board of Tax and Land Appeals ruled that Beede was not responsible for the taxes in April. In July, the New Hampshire Supreme Court chose not to reconsider that decision.

“The town will continue to fight for our taxpayers,” Town Manager Sean Fitzgerald said. “We continue to believe very strongly that the taxes are owed by the Beede Group to the town for the contamination and the challenges that have impacted that site.”

Fitzgerald would not offer specifics on how the town would continue to fight the decision, but he said the town is working to change legislation.

“We have a number of opportunities to work with legislative delegation to address some of the challenges that we face,” Fitzgerald said. “If the laws that are currently being applied does not give the town those opportunities, then we’ll take this conversation to the legislation.”

Beede is putting the tax issue behind them, Howard said.

“From our perspective, our tax issues have been adjudicated,” he said. “The rationale we used has been upheld, we’ll just keep doing our cleanup job. We can’t control what the town decides to do, we’ll just leave the rest of that up to other folks.”