The Acton Memorial Library maintains a public repository of documents about the WR Grace Site. These documents, dating back to the 1970’s, can be found in a loft area (accessed by a small spiral staircase), above the Civil War exhibit on the second floor of the library. (Please ask at the reference desk, if you need assistance.) WR Grace documents are also available for public review at the Acton Health Department in Acton Town Hall.
Many of the documents before 1997 concern the identification and cleanup of contaminated sludge and soil from onsite lagoons and other disposal areas. More recent documents focus on the groundwater contamination that extends beyond the borders of the WR Grace property, reaching both the Assabet River to the south and three public water supply wells to the northeast. (The Acton Water District treats the public water supply to meet all applicable water quality standards.)
For an overview of past and current issues at the WR Grace Site, see the following documents:
1. Draft Phase II, Remedial Investigation Report, for the WR Grace Site, Acton, MA, Aug. 30, 2002, by GeoTrans
(In Volume I: See the text, especially Sections 1 through 3; In Volume II: See Appendix B)
If you are interested in further information about the WR Grace site, the August 30, 2002 Remedial Investigation Report (RI) is a good place to start. The text in Volume I provides an overview of the site. (Section 3 of the text provides details on the contaminants, including a more extensive list than the usually cited benzene, VDC, vinyl chloride, arsenic and manganese.) The figures include cross sections of the benzene, VDC, and vinyl chloride plumes, and the distribution of inorganic compounds (arsenic, manganese, iron, and aluminum) in groundwater onsite. Large site maps (24” X 36”) are also included in this and many other WR Grace reports. Appendix B (in Volume II of the RI), provides two lists of the contaminants that exceed water quality standards—one list organized by chemical name, and the second by sampling location.
2. Annual Groundwater Monitoring Reports (2003 through Current Year)
These reports, usually available in the spring of each year, include plume maps showing the location and concentrations of VDC, vinyl chloride, and benzene in groundwater at the WR Grace Site from the prior year’s annual sampling. They also discuss any changes in contamination levels compared to previous years, and any issues of current concern. Contaminants currently sampled in groundwater include volatile organic compounds, inorganic compounds, 1,4-dioxane, and geochemical parameters.
3. Five Year Review Reports Issued by EPA, (September 1999, September 2004 and September 2009)
Five Year Review Reports include a summary of the history of the site and actions taken to address contamination, as well as site photos, maps, tables, and an assessment of the protectiveness of the cleanup of soils at the site. (Five Year Reviews by EPA are required as part of the Federal “Superfund” process because “hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants remain at the Site above levels that allow for unlimited use and unrestricted exposure.”)