EPA Finishes Cleanup Near Nashua River

The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has just completed the cleanup of tons of asbestos-contaminated soil near the Nashua River and the city library in the town of Nashua, New Hampshire.

According to an article in the Nashua Telegraph, approximately 95 tons of contaminated dirt was dug up over the past three weeks at the site between the river and library. The dirt was taken to the Nashua landfill and, according to an EPA representative, the area was then covered with a special type of cloth and at least six inches of soil, which the city will reseed in coming weeks.

The asbestos was found at the site and in other parts of Nashua and nearby Hudson because of the former presence of a Johns Manville factory. The Johns Manville plant used asbestos to make fireproof building materials at this location for more than seven decades.

The article also notes that “the company made leftover asbestos available to those who wanted clean fill for construction projects, and over the years, asbestos filler was placed under numerous buildings, roads, parks and parking lots.”

The EPA instigated the cleanup after they determined that some of the asbestos near the library could easily become airborne, largely due to erosion and mowing in the area. Airborne asbestos could, in turn, be inhaled by those who frequent the area.

The work, estimated to cost about $140,000, was done under the EPA’s Emergency Response Program in New England.

The article points out that “the south side of the Nashua River has long been known to be contaminated. The city dealt with asbestos along the riverbank when it built a walkway next to the library a decade ago.”

Some believe the filler may have been placed back in the area when several houses were torn down and Park Street was relocated in the late 1960s, leading to the construction of the current library.

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