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MA Dry Cleaners asked to Reduce Use of the Chlorinated Solvent Perc


The Massachsusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EOEEA) recently announced the implementation of what will initially be a voluntary program to reduce the amount of the toxic chemical perchloroethylene, also know as Perc.  If the voluntary program does not yield significant reductions in four years, the reductions and the program will then become mandatory.

Perc is a chlorinated solvent that the US Dept. of Health and Human Services has named as a likely carcinogen to humans.  The program will encourage the use of safer alternatives to perc, and will be reflected in the dry cleaners annual compliance certifications, which are regulated by MA DEP through the federal Clean Air Act.

As part of  the program, there will be voluntary “comparative analysis” that will help dry cleaners understand and compare the benefits and costs, including risks of and alternatives to perc. The plan also outlines a process by which goals for perchloroethylene use will be set to encourage an accelerated rate of reductions, and the voluntary comparative analysis will become mandatory if the goals are not met.

To read more about the program and the announcement, you can read the state's press release here.

To learn more about Norfolk Ram's environmental remediation services and dealing with or alternatives to the use of Perc, visit our webpage or contact Charles Young at (508) 747-7900 extension 126.

Erosion and Sedimentation Control Field Guide Available


Norfolk Ram has long been a supporter of the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissioners (MACC), as a sponsor and attending various functions throughout the year, including the Annual Environmental Conference held in Worcester every march. Norfolk recently teamed up again with the MACC as a sponsor as it developed its very impressive and comprehensive Runoff, Erosion and Sediment Control Field Guide.  It's a very efficient field guide that can be used by engineers, architects, Conservation Commissioners, landscape architects, contractors and municipal officials. Copies are available for purchase through MACC by clicking the link above.

Erosion and Sedimentation Control are very important practices to protect our wetlands and waterways during construction and post-construction activities.  Proper controls can reduce sedimentation, nutrient and mineral loadings, and other contaminants from entering into our sensitive enviromental receptors. This field guide provides the information need for people to assess their situation and make the appropriate decisions to protect their projects and the surrounding environment.

If you have any quesitons regarding erosion control practices and protecting sensitive resources from runoff and sedimentation, please contact Mark S. Bartlett, P.E., CPESC at (508) 747-7900 extension 131.

ESC Field Guide Brochure resized 600



Attleboro site slated for remediation through a Superfund Cleanup


A former chromium plating facility in Attleboro has been designated as a superfund site to cleanup the contamination from the former operations.  The 2.7 acre site used to be operated by Walton & Lonsbury, Inc, and for over a 30 year period through 1970, all wastes generated from the facility were discharged into a wetland resource area on the site by an underground pipe.  Now the site contains contaminants such as chromium, hexavalent chromium, lead, and volatile organic compounds.

In order to clean up the site, workers will need to dismantle and remove plating tanks, excavated the foundation and contaminated  soil, clear the wooded wetland area, and treat the contaminated wetland soils.  As part of the remediation process, the contractor will use a dry-soil mixing process to bind existing soil with cement in-situ.  Once the contaminants have been adressed, the land will be turned over for a housing development.

For questions about site remediation or site assessments, please contact Brian V. Moran, P.E. at (508) 747-7900 or check out our remediation page.


Information for this post taken from the July 30, 2012 edition of Engineering News-Record, Page U9.

In Massachusetts, environmental clean-up of brownfields sites can receive as much as a 50% refund in the form of a tax credit.  Learn about the Brownfields Tax Credit and find out if you qualify!

Landmark agreement on Dioxins contamination cleanup


The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality recently reached an agreement with the Dow Chemical Company to clean up to 1,500 residential properites contaminated with dioxins in Midland Michigan, home of its manufacturing plant and corporate headquarters.  The agreement proposes an action level of 250 parts per trillion of dioxins in the residential soils.  The action level is set in accordance with EPA's approved risk assessment procedures, and their recent announcement setting a safe level of exposure for TCDD, a potent congener.

Soil sampling will begin in June for the project, and the program will also offer relocation support to people who rent affected homes, should the homeowner not choose to participate in the program. As an extra effort, Dow says it is also offering to purchase approximately 50 homes and lots located within the industrial and commercially zoned area noted in the cleanup agreement.

For more information of Dioxins or soil and groundwater contamination, contact Brian V. Moran, P.E. at (508) 747-7900 extension 189 or (508) 309-4793.

Information in this post taken from an article entitled "Michigan, Dow Agree on Cleanup" by Glenn Hess, on Page 7 of the February 27, 2012 edition of Chemical & Engineering News.

An efficient new groundwater modeling tool


An innovative new groundwater modeling tool called MODular ALLocation, or MODALL, can be used to shorten remediation projects and for assessing project performance. This program developed by ARCADIS / Malcolm Pirnie, was used at Reese Air Force Base in Texas and it proved efficient at remediating groundwater contamination.

Reese Air Force Base opened in 1941 as a pilot training facility and was closed in 1997 because of its high level of contaminants. Contamination at the site consists mostly of hydrocarbons and chlorinated solvents, which were used to clean aircraft. These contaminants degrade local groundwater resources and drinking water. A conventional pump-and-treat system was adopted in 1990 to try to remove the contaminants from the groundwater. In 2004, ARCADIS / Pirnie started a Remediation Program with two main goals:

  • Cleanup the base
  • Optimize the system and reduce the time required to complete the remediation objectives

How does MODALL work exactly?

This new pumping model was completed in 2005. It captures and treats more contaminants of concern than before, and in less time. This tool can capture the plumes and provide information on the plumes which can enable more efficient treatment. The groundwater system enables the model to examine flow allocations and the model can then generate contour maps depicting the capture of treatment systems remediating the plume. Thus, ARCADIS figures out exactly where the existing treatment system is operating effectively. As a result, ARCADIS can reduce the amount of groundwater extracted for treatment while still capturing the plume. The plume is better driven toward the extraction point, by better targeting the injection points.

What were the results of the model ?

  • A reduction of the rate of groundwater extraction from 651 gallons per minute (gpm) to 350 gpm
  • An improvement of the speed with which the plume is captured. ARCADIS captured the plume at a rate of two to three acres per week
  • A major cost savings by more than $ 22 million
  • An acceleration of remediation elsewhere at the site. The deadline for the remediation program is 2014 but ARCADIS expects to complete the work before. The firm already shortened the program by 20 years.

If you have any questions about groundwater systems, please contact John McAllister at or at (508) 747 - 7900 x 117.

 Information in this article taken from November 2011, article ‘’Groundwater Model shortens remediation projects by 20 years ‘’ by Jay Landers, published in Civil Engineering. 

Dredging in the Buffalo River to remove contamination


Due to a century of industrial activity – steel manufacturers, and chemical companies - along its riverbanks, the Buffalo River has become very polluted. The levels of contamination were so high that in 1987, the Buffalo River was designated as ‘’ an area of concern’’ by the International Joint Commission. Due to the chemicals and contamination present in the sediment, dredging the Buffalo River has become a necessity.


 Last August, the US Army Corps of Engineers started a $50 million project to dredge contaminated sediment from the River and to restore aquatic and riparian habitat.

 As part of the project, many steps had to be taken to lead up to the dredging:

-          The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation created a remedial action plan for the River

-          In 2003, the EPA selected Buffalo Niagara River–keeper to coordinate the work involved in implementing the plan

-          Since 2007, Buffalo Niagara River–keeper and its four partners (the Army Corps of Engineers, the EPA, The Department of Environmental Conservation, and Honeywell International, Inc., of Morristown, New Jersey) have worked to remediate the Buffalo River in a unique public – private partnership. The five partners together are known as the Buffalo River Restoration partnership.

 Their work enabled them to put forward four main contaminants to be addressed by the dredging:

1. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

2. Polychlorinated biphenyls

3. Lead

4. Mercury


The cleanup of the Buffalo River includes two phases in order to reach the following goals:

 -          Reduce human exposure to contaminated sediment, as well as the exposure of wildlife and aquatic organisms

-          Restore habitat and supporting wildlife

 The first phase is led by the Corps and consists of dredging portions of the navigation channel within the river and the City Ship Canal to a depth of 24 ft., 1 ft. deeper than the Corps normally dredges. This phase aims at helping the Buffalo River be removed as an ‘’area of concern’’.

 The second phase is led by the EPA and includes different actions:

-          Remove contaminated sediments from areas in the river outside of the navigation channel

-          Cap contamination located at the terminus of the City Ship Canal

-          Conduct 6 habitat restoration projects along the riverbanks and within the capped section of the canal

In late August, the dredging operations began hoping to remove 600,000 cu yd of material by clamshell dredging. The method used minimizes the dredged material reentering the water by sending it to a nearby confined disposal facility.


The Corps received increased federal funding to remove even more material than normal. The estimated cost of the dredging associated with the first phase will be approximately $5.9 million. Funding for the project comes from two sources:

-          $4.6 million from the Federal government’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which will fund the removal of 450,000 cu yd of material

-          $1.3 million from the Corp’s annual appropriations for routine operation and maintenance dredging which will pay for the removal of the remaining 150,000 cu yd of material.


The project participants expect the river to return to a healthier state as its long term goal. The second phase with the additional dredging will enable them to cap in place the contaminated material located in a 7–acre area at the far end of the City Ship Canal. This phase will include six habitat restoration projects as well and this capped area is expected to become one of these six restoration projects.


If you have any question about dredging, please contact John McAllister at or at (508) 747 - 7900 x 117.

 Information in this article taken from October 2011, article by Jay Landers, published in Civil Engineering News. 


New studies provide insight into vapor intrusion at dry cleaners


The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) each recently released studies relating to vapor migration control systems at dry cleaners.  The studies were described in the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) publication Technology News and Trends (see link below).

 The NYSDEC study suggests that active sub-slab venting/depressurization near the source of a release may have significant benefits as it relates to the potential for vapor migration into surrounding residential buildings.

 The FL DEP study traced the source of a portion of tetrachloroethene (PCE) contaminants detected in a soil vapor extraction (SVE) system at an active dry cleaner to current dry cleaning operations, as indicated by a cyclic pattern of increasing and decreasing PCE concentrations in extracted vapor concentrations on a daily basis.  This finding suggests that the concrete slab is providing little attenuation for vapor migration of chlorinated solvents.

 Link to EPA newsletter :

 For more information regarding the cleanup of chlorinated solvents, vapor intrusion, and sub-slab depressurization please call Charles Young at (508) 747-7900 x126.    

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