ATTLEBORO — Officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are ready to propose the next phase of what’s already been a decade-long cleanup costing millions of dollars at the Walton & Lonsbury Co. Superfund site on North Avenue.
A meeting to get input from the public has been scheduled for July 31.
A public information session will be held at 6 p.m. in the Attleboro Public Library on North Main Street followed by a public hearing at 7:30 p.m.
Work at the 3-acre site as well as in adjoining wetlands and neighborhoods — where the pollution, including cancer-causing hexavalent chromium, spread during the 67 years of of the plant’s operation — has already gone on for 10 years and has cost at least $15 million.
Immediate threats were remediated by 2014 and since then officials have been taking air, water and soil samples and analyzing them to determine the amount and extent of pollution as well what to do about it.
An EPA press release on Thursday said the next phase is expected to cost at least $22 million.
Work began in 2010 with an “emergency removal action” to eliminate “imminent threats.”
The plant was razed during that phase.
The project became a Superfund site in 2013, qualifying it for millions of dollars more in cleanup money, and the work was extended across North Avenue to the east. That’s where tons of soil from the yards of private homes was removed and replaced while barriers were put in place to prevent contaminants from leaching into top soil and Bliss Brook.
Part of the next phase could include the removal of lead-contaminated soil from the yards of a number of neighbors on the west side of North Avenue and the extension of the pollution barrier on the east side along Bliss Brook.
Since 2014, the EPA has collected reams of data on the type, amount and location of the pollutants which, beside hexavalent chromium, include trichloroethylene (TCE) and lead.
Walton & Lonsbury was a chrome-plating plant that operated at 78 North Ave. from 1940 to 2007.
For much of its history it dumped untreated pollutants directly into wetlands south of the plant.
The public is invited to submit written input on the proposed cleanup plan during a 30-day comment period from July 26 to Aug. 26.
To review the proposed cleanup plan and learn more about the Walton & Lonsbury Superfund site, go to www.epa.gov/superfund/walton .
Written comments may be mailed or emailed to:
U.S. EPA Region 1 – New England
5 Post Office Square, Suite 100
Boston, MA 02109-3912