City's plan for investigating abandoned dump approved by state agency

LACONIA — The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) has approved the city's plan to further investigate the extent and degree of contamination at the site of an abandoned burn dump and landfill off Frank Bean Road and Morin Road in anticipation of taking measures to address any risks it may pose to the natural environment or human health.
Sovereign Consulting Inc. of Concord submitted the plan in July 2012, anticipating a response within six to eight weeks. Instead, DES replied in March 2013, stretching the time lines of the plan by at least five or six months.
City Manager Scott Myers said the cost of implementing is approximately $70,000, which will be drawn from a reserve fund established to address environmental issues.
The site sprawls over nine properties totaling some 75 acres on either side of Frank Bean Road. The burn dump extends over most of four parcels — two residential and two commercial lots — totaling about 3.5 acres, three abutting one another on the west side of Frank Bean Road and the fourth bordered by Frank Bean Road to the west  and Morin Road to the east. The dump was operated by the city on privately owned land until 1954 when it was bulldozed flat and covered with gravel. Later the landowner subdivided the property and sold the four lots.The Morin Road landfill, which ceased operation in the early 1960s, comprises some 50 acres divided between two parcels, both owned by the city, and stretches across the town line into Gilford.
The work plan prepared by Sovereign Consulting calls for Hager-Richter GeoScience Inc. of Salem, N.H. to do a geophysical survey of the site. The survey aims to determine the depth and extent of residue from the burning operation. The survey, which is expected to be completed in three days, will require the cooperation of the property owners and the suspension of vehicle traffic.
Next GeoSearch Environmental Contractors of Fitchburg, Mass., will begin sinking 15 borings and 12 monitoring wells to depths of 20 feet on the four burn dump parcels to collect data on the character and extent of contamination.
Sovereign had expected to present its report on the burn dump this spring and submit proposals for addressing the contamination sometime next spring. Likewise, an assessment of the Morin Road Landfill was originally scheduled to be completed by this spring summer and remedial actions proposed by the summer and completed in the fall.
Similar sites have been secured with a durable cap and measures may be required to monitor the quality groundwater and restore it to state standards.
Meanwhile, DES  has assured the owners of the two residential properties, both of which draw their drinking water from dug wells, that tests confirmed that the quality of their water met the standards of the Safe Drinking Water Act.
The work plan, which addresses shortcomings DES found in the city's initial submission, is the most recent step in a process that began in 2004 when the entire site was listed on the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Information System (CERCLIS), a data base maintained by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  An initial inspection of the site was completed by the EPA in December 2009, after which DES asked the city to undertake a complete investigation and propose remedial action.
On behalf of the city, Terracon Consultants Inc. of Manchester screened the site and submitted a report to DES in August 2011. Although the study delineated the extent of waste across the site, DES found that the data it provided insufficient to characterize the risks on the site and requested the city to conduct a more thorough investigation.