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Cleanup of Medfield State Hospital Site Shows Progress

Work to clean the salvage yard and other areas of the Medfield State Hospital site are complete with public comments still accepted.

Efforts to clean the salvage yard at  were a success as workers were able to remove 17,500 tons of asbestos from the site since the beginning of the year, according to officials.

As cleanup continues, a public involvement plan (PIP) meeting was held Thursday at to give an update on development. Recent news from the site gives perspective into the project that visible progress is being made.

The hospital salvage yard site — which once contained a run-down shed and layers of debris — now is “a very nice, natural meadow” after seeding, said Frank Ricciardi, engineer at the Weston & Sampson engineering firm.

The firm is working to clean up the site while hearing concerns and opinions of Medfield officials and area residents.

“[There are] much improved conditions compared to what was there before,” Ricciardi said.

Prior to cleanup, officials wished to meet three conditions: excavate the land to its previous state, reduce concentration of soil impacts and reach unrestricted access to the site. Ricciardi said each goal was met.

the construction and demolition debris area, also was discussed. Workers removed surface concrete that once made up foundations of old buildings and removed 1,700 tons of coal ash that was under the concrete, Ricciardi said.

“[We] made sure we went back to clean,” he said. “We didn’t take six inches off and [cross] our fingers [that we removed all of the debris] — we took a lot of soil.”

At no point during cleanup was the public health in danger, Ricciardi said. Air monitoring and dust control systems were in place to ensure any asbestos would be contained.

Ground water samples also were taken to ensure the public’s health and initially, a toxic PCB was discovered. But the measurement was below standards and hasn’t been detected since, Ricciardi said.

Medfield Selectmen chair Osler "Pete" Peterson responded positively toward workers’ efforts on the site.

“It looks really nice up there, thanks for making it look so good,” he said.

Although the public had notice about Thursday’s meeting, John Thompson, chair of the State Hospital Environmental Review Committee (SHERC), said he “got his letter (Wednesday) for the meeting.” He added additional notification would have been helpful for those in the town to speak out about the project.

John O’Donnell, deputy director for the Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management (DCAM), seconded his thought. 

Public comment on the clean up efforts should be extended “a couple of weeks” past the Sept. 1 deadline and be given to Mr. Allen Wiggin of DCAM.

Wiggin can be reached at 1 Ashburton Pl., 15th Floor, Boston, or at allen.wiggin@dcp.state.ma.us.

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