PLAISTOW — The Beede Superfund site is gearing up for its next phase of work, where it will heat the ground to boiling temperatures to remove contamination.
Cleanup continues at the 40-acre Main Street site, where hundreds of thousands of gallons of contaminants were dumped from the 1920s to 1994.
A water treatment system was launched Dec. 2. to clean water coming off the site.
The system is referred to as MOM, short for “management of mitigation,” senior project engineer Catharine Rockwell said.
The system pulls water out of the site, treats it and pumps it back as clean water into two areas at 130 gallons per minute, she said.
The system will be running for as long as three decades, Rockwell said.
With the treatment system online, the next step in the cleanup begins, project coordinator Michael Skinner said.
“The next issue will be to make sure we get all the contaminants out of the soil so they don’t get in the water again,” he said.
That process will take several years and roll out in three phases, starting with more soil being moved off the site to be cleaned, Skinner said.
Not much will change from what the public sees outside the Superfund site, Skinner said. Trucks will take dirt out and bring well casings in as they have for the last couple years.
The wells will be part of phase two, where contaminated soil will be steamed clean via thermal treatment, Rockwell said.
“We’re going to put in a series of wells, down to about 32 feet,” Rockwell said. “They’re going to inject steam to heat the ground surface between 10 and 30 feet below the surface.”
Heats up to 100 degrees Celsius — the boiling point of water — will make the oil in the soil more mobile and easier to pull out of the ground through a vacuum recovery process, Rockwell said.