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Selectmen Discuss Contamination at 9 Green Street

by Mary Greendale
October 2, 2018

9 Green Street - the white building right behind the defunct Gulf gas station downtown - is a known contaminated site. Selectmen met with Joel Loitherstein of Tighe & Bond, Engineers and Environmental Specialists to discuss testing. 

The building served  as a bowling ally in the 30's and later became Ty-Car Mfg., which produced clock hands in the 1960's. Those clock hands were painted with a fluorescent coating that was a toxic solvent. Casual disposal and spills created problems around the brook behind Superette. Contaminated soil was removed in the past butno further remediation has been done. No one is allowed to enter the building due to airborne contamination.

The owner of the building is delinquent in paying his property taxes and before the Town decides whether to "take" the property, officials want to know the magnitude and potential costs of the contamination and what the property could be used for. The owner has been accumulating fines from DEP, but if the Town were to end up owning the property, DEP waives those fines.

TESTING: Solvents don't mix with water. They sink to an impervious layer underground and then travel along that impervious surface. The goal of testing is to find where the contamination plume is.

Loitherstein recommended installing 50 sampler tubes in a grid to collect passive soil gas. The tubes would be in place for a week to 10 days. Lab techs then desorb the contamination that collects on the copper wire in the tube and plot the locations. These plot points define the boundaries of the contamnation plume. Samplers would be placed under the building, in the parking lot, along Green Street and across the street to the front of Fiske's. It will take a month to get results.

According to Loitherstein, the plume is stable and there is no ongoing source leaking new contaminants. "The plume will be there for a very long time and may not need treatment. You may only be able to cure the symptom." However, the airborne contaminants within the building would require filtering systems.

Selectman Mark Ahronian asked if there were other kinds of contamination, and Loitherstein said it is possible that there are also metals in the ground. The samplers would not detect metals, but that testing could easily be done at the same time as the passive soil test. Ahronian also asked about any residual contamination from the gas station, and Loitherstein said that would have to be evaluated. The Board agreed it wanted to know everything that was in play.

THREATS to WATER ?? No, the downtown is NOT a drinking water source area. Once the tests are done and contaminants known, monitoring wells will need to be installed and maintained forever.

NEXT STEPS: Selectman Cronin suggested that Town Administrator Jeff Ritter talk with Town Counsel about sampling on private property. He said that he'd like a waiver from the owner before anything is decided. Marsden asked Ritter to set up a time for the Board to convene a meeting with other stakeholder departments to discuss the situation.







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Comments (5)

I hope the town isn't serious about throwing money at fixing and using this building for something. It's already sounding expensive. It sounds like an easy deal to me. As Bill said, stop wasting time and money. Skip the 50 test holes and soil contaminant testing. Take it over (and the decrepit Gulf station), and raze the buildings, and pave a much needed parking lot that could be connected with the back of Superette lot for a good size mega lot. Just get it done. Think about the parking situation needed for Celebrate Holliston (and for the park in general as-is), and street parking that were lost to lights. I'd much rather park there any day than on Washington St.

- Sam T | 10/2/18 9:44 PM

To be clear, Holliston doesn't own either property, and no one can tear down 9 Green Street because DEP says so.

- Mary Greendale | 10/2/18 8:31 PM

I agree with Bill. That would take care of the parking problem downtown.

- Alan Lisak | 10/2/18 8:20 PM

@Bill, YES. Would be better suited as a municipal lot right in downtown. It is needed.

- DAVID | 10/2/18 5:19 PM

Raze that and the Gulf station and make a parking lot...done. No need to waste money and time(knowing Holliston, years) on more tests.

- Bill Simmons | 10/2/18 8:11 AM



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