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Brookside PCB cleanup effort kicks off

September 15, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — The latest round of cleanup along Brookside Terrace's stretch of Lebanon Brook got the green light Tuesday.

Unfortunately, it won't be the last round, since original plans to complete PCB removal this year were broken into "phases" for fiscal reasons.

According to Michelle Simoneau, the project's lead wetlands scientist from GZA Geoenvironmental, the has been "no change in scope" but bids received by property owner Meredith Management "determined that the most significant [contamination] would be done as phase one." That limits the current project essentially to the area behind the complex's office building, where a fair amount of the northern slope of the brook bank and the streambed itself must be removed.

Among other things, GZA and contractors Cyn Engineering are planning to cut trees there but will use some of the pieces to stabilize the streambed later; dig up and move the contaminated soil to a storage site for "dewatering" before trucking it away for disposal; "power wash" some of the rocks and return them; then rebuild and seed the banks. They still need to install a small treatment plant for runoff and finish creating and securing the dewatering areas.

"We don't have that schedule pinned down yet … [but] I'm thinking weeks," said Cyn's onsite engineer Ron Kubiak, noting he expects work to be done by mid-October.

Simoneau agreed, saying, "I'm no weatherman, but I think we'll have a little wiggle room. … Experience dictates we'll have at least a week's window [of good weather] after Oct. 15."

Usually, that's true, but Conservation Commission Chairman Ken Pickren noted "a hundred-year flood" hit town on that date in 2005, inundating Brookside Terrace especially. But he was more concerned about site security, particularly of the inflatable mini-dams GZA plans to use to keep the work area dry. He suggested recruiting area residents to keep watch.

See Thursday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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