By John Toole
---- — PLAISTOW — The Beede Waste Oil Superfund site is approaching a milestone, with treatment of polluted groundwater set to begin soon.
Town residents can get an update on the cleanup this weekend, plus a chance to see new equipment before treatment starts.
“It is a big deal,” Beede Group spokesman Greg Howard said yesterday. “Soon, we’re going to flip the switch and the cleanup of the water will begin.”
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.
Groundwater treatment is expected to begin as soon as October.
Representatives of the Beede Group will meet with town and federal environmental officials Friday to brief them on their progress with the cleanup.
On Saturday, they will open the site for residents to view the treatment equipment and ask questions.
“What people will get is some clarity,” Howard said. “People will know what’s going on.”
Residents will be able to ask questions of treatment system operators, he said.
The system is expected to treat 160 gallons of polluted groundwater per minute.
Cleaning the groundwater is a process that won’t wrap up overnight.
“There’s a possibility this will be going on for 20 or more years,” Howard said.
The cleanup is performed under oversight from both state and federal environmental officials. Town officials also monitor developments.
“All the stakeholders, including the town, have input,” Howard said. “Nothing is left to chance.”
The open house at the Beede site is scheduled Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to noon.
People who are unable to attend Saturday can contact the Beede Group through “Beede Clean Up” on Facebook.
“We want to be as transparent as we can about the process,” Howard said.
Beede Group also is responsible for cleaning contaminated soil at the site.
The group is mindful of the impact on neighbors and other town residents, Howard said.
“It’s nasty, dirty work,” he said. “We want to, as much as possible, insulate people from it.”
Neighbor Kathy Davidson said she is aware of the forum Saturday forum, but lives about a quarter mile down the street and doesn’t plan to attend.
“I have no problem with it,” she said. “I think people who are really affected should go.”
Ruth Bennett also lives nearby and said she will try to attend the open house to learn about the treatment system.
“This has been going on for a while,” Bennett said.