NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. – On a scale of zero to 10, environmental contamination at the former Northbridge Auto Wrecking Inc., 2040 Providence Road, is about a four, Northbridge selectmen were told at a meeting Monday night.
Ryan Lundergan, a planner with Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission (CMRPC), presented a report on Phase II of an environmental site assessment of the approximate 24-acres owned by Paul Klocek of Northbridge.
An auto salvage business operated from the site for more than 60 years, and over the last couple of years “tens of tens of thousands of tires” and debris has been removed, Lundergan said.
Left behind is petroleum contamination in the soil and groundwater caused by leaking underground tanks, and shallow soil contamination by metals such as cadmium, nickel and lead. Lundergan said he could say "with some confidence" that the underground plume of petroleum has not made it into the river.
The assessment shows a contamination problem “that won’t blow you away as too big a problem to be solved,’’ Lundergan said. “Long term groundwater cleanup is expensive, but it’s very small relative to the scale of the property,’’ he continued.
CMRPC conducted the assessment at the request of selectmen and funded by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The hope is the property will eventually be sold and developed, but whether by the current or new owners, it will have to be cleaned to EPA regulations before development, Lundergan noted.
Jerry Caya and David Perry, who work for Klocek, “did a good job of cleaning up the site. It could be a viable business property,” Lundergan said.
The CMRPC document can be a resource for the property owner, who is also conducting environmental studies.
Lundergan said the next step is two-fold. Klocek must submit a clean-up plan of groundwater and shallow soil to the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection.