Things You Need to Know About the Cleanup of the Medfield State Hospital
Here’s a closer look at six things you need to know about the environmental cleanup needed at the Medfield State Hospital and what is being proposed by DCAM versus what the town wants.
Nearly everyone in Medfield has heard about the issue the town faces regarding the cleanup needed at the Medfield State Hospital property.
For many, it is common knowledge that hazardous materials have been found in a section of the property called the Construction and Demolition (C&D) area and in and alongside the Charles River.
The ongoing issue has been the disagreement between the town and the state's Division of Capital Asset Management on the extent of cleanup necessary at the site.
The town wants those toxic materials removed to the “maximum extent feasible,” as stated by the Medfield Board of Selectmen in a letter to the state’s Division of Capital Asset Management. Residents have voiced at various public meetings their desire – and the town’s need – for complete remediation of the site, which would result in unlimited use and no restriction of the site. DCAM’s remediation proposal calls for “partial” removal of the toxic material – choosing to cap the majority of the toxic material in place on the site.
Because the town and DCAM disagree on the extent of cleanup needed at the state hospital site, the two sides are expected to enter into mediation to discuss alternatives and see if an agreement can be reached.
To better understand the issues surrounding the cleanup of the Medfield State Hospital, Medfield resident and state hospital abutter Bill Massaro provided Medfield Patch the following information:
Where and what the Construction & Demolition (C&D) Area is:
- 3.2 acres up to 12 feet deep of Construction & Demolition Debris
- Alongside and in the Charles River and adjoining wetlands
What is in the C&D Area:
- 65,250 tons of asbestos contaminated fill (ACF), including ash from coal/waste incineration
- 1,000 cubic yards coated ABC (Asphalt, Brick, Concrete)
- 5,000 cubic yards uncoated ABC
- 500 cubic yards metal debris
What the town wants:
- Complete removal of contaminated /toxic material
What DCAM is proposing to remove:
- 9,000 tons (14 percent) ACF
- 140 cubic yard (14 percent) coated ABC
- 700 cubic yards (14 percent) uncoated ABC
- 70 cubic yards (14 percent) metal debris
DCAM’s position for proposal:
The gas pipeline on the site makes complete removal “categorically infeasible”:
- Cost: +$4.5 Million gas line relocation
- Schedule: + 2 years
- Safety: Risk of working in proximity to gas line.
Alternatives to DCAM’s current proposal:
- Full removal, including moving gas line to cleanup underneath it. Cost: $16.8 to 19.1 million
- Partial removal to western edge of gas pipeline and full liner. Cost: $6.5 to 7.4 million
- Removal from Zone II, liner and soil cover. Cost: $5.6 to 6.4 million
- Partial removal, partial liner and soil cover with AUL (Activity/Use Limitation). Cost: $3.6 to 3.9 million. This is the proposal DCAM selected.
Massaro added the cost of moving the gas line has been guesstimated by DCAM at $4.5 million but that is irrelevant because Spectra has told Medfield’s State Hospital Environmental Review Committee it will “never agree to move” the line.
“The real cost to a ‘full removal’ is the asbestos contaminated fill removal and disposal, and in the larger area to be re-filled with ‘clean’ material, etc.,” Massaro said.
SHERC chairman John Thompson, according to Massaro, has said DCAM could reduce some of these costs for cleanup by restoring the bank to 1896 levels instead of smoothing out the 12 feet of deposited fill, which created a new higher topography.
For more on the cost comparisons of different cleanup proposals, see the attached PDF file in the photo gallery above.