Walton & Lonsbury

The Walton & Lonsbury Superfund site on North Avenue in Attleboro is shown in this aerial photo from 2013.

ATTLEBORO — Cleaning the site of a former chrome plating plant on North Avenue is far from over and spending on the project will more than double by the time the job is done.

Designing the final remediation work at the Walton & Lonsbury Co. Superfund site is expected to take from one to two years and implementation of the plan after that will take another two to four years — once funding is approved, officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said.

So if all goes as quickly as possible, the job would be done in three years, but it could take six years or longer.

And if funding the job, which is expected to cost at least $22 million is delayed by the U.S. government, it could take even longer, those officials told a gathering of about 25 neighbors at the public library last week.

The project has cost $15 million to date.

The exact price of the rest of the job is not known.

EPA Project manager Ethan Finkel said it could be less than $22 million or jump up to $25 million.

Work on the site began in 2010 and that portion of the project, which removed immediate health threats, ended in 2013.

Since then, the EPA has studied the extent of the pollution which includes the highly toxic hexavalent chromium, trichloroethylene (TCE) and lead, and mapped out potential remedies.

The preferred plan includes removal of what’s left of the Walton & Lonsbury plant which dumped untreated contaminants into the wetlands just south of the site for years, and the soil underneath it which continues to add pollutants to the groundwater plume moving to the southeast and south of the plant site.

Bliss Brook on the east side of North Avenue has been impacted by the contaminants, but is partially protected by a barrier put in place six years ago.

Part of the new plan would be to extend that barrier.

EPA officials also plan to remove soil from some properties contaminated by lead on the west side of North Avenue bordering the wetlands.

The public is invited to submit written input on the proposed cleanup plan during a 30-day comment period which started on July 26 and runs to Aug. 26.

To review the proposed cleanup plan and learn more about the Walton & Lonsbury Superfund site, go to epa.gov/superfund/walton.

Written comments may be mailed or emailed to: Ethan Finkel, U.S. EPA Region 1 – New England, 5 Post Office Square, Suite 100, Boston, MA 02109-3912, or email: finkel.ethan@epa.gov.

George W. Rhodes can be reached at 508-236-0432.

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