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DES Moving Towards New Superfund Site in Farmington

The Department of Environmental Services is working to have  a former auto-parts factory and landfill in Farmington declared a Superfundsite. DES officials are confident the site will be accepted into the federal program.

TheSuperfund programis the state’s last resort for cleaning up hazardous waste. According to Robert Pease of the DES, the state is aware of around 600 hazardous waste sites, but only when there isn’t an owner left to deal with contamination do they turn to the Superfund.

He says, in Farmington, the property changed hands several times, and the last owner declared bankruptcy in 2005. Once gone, the auto parts factory left a legacy in the form of chlorinated solvents.

Pease: They last a long time in the environment, they can degrade into other toxic chemicals, and they will often sink into the ground water.

Pease says while the contaminated water isn’t a threat to residents, the DES settled on what technology can best clean up the contamination. He says they have experimented with injecting chemicals that can destroy solvents in the groundwater in similarly contaminated sites around the state. The DES is still evaluating the results of those trials.


Sam Evans-Brown has been working for New Hampshire Public Radio since 2010, when he began as a freelancer. He shifted gears in 2016 and began producing Outside/In, a podcast and radio show about “the natural world and how we use it.” His work has won him several awards, including two regional Edward R. Murrow awards, one national Murrow, and the Overseas Press Club of America's award for best environmental reporting in any medium. He studied Politics and Spanish at Bates College, and before reporting was variously employed as a Spanish teacher, farmer, bicycle mechanic, ski coach, research assistant, a wilderness trip leader and a technical supporter.

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