Category Archives: WR Grace Superfund Site

Acton’s Health Department and Water Quality

Water is essential to life, and thus to health.  Here in Acton, the town Health Department oversees many water-related activities and entities. It attends to public and private wells, swimming pools and the NARA Park swimming beach, potential sources of groundwater contamination (including septic systems, underground storage tanks, and two Superfund sites), and potential sources of surface water contamination (including car washes, stormwater runoff, and “manure compliance”). The department also interfaces with the Acton Water District concerning water quality in the public water supply, and with the Acton-Boxborough Regional School District for water quality testing in the schools.

Continue reading

Lack of Progress on Remediation of 1,4-Dioxane at WR Grace Superfund Site

The previous post described the recent progress that has been made in reducing the levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) at the WR Grace Superfund Site by extracting and treating the groundwater, as called for in the 2005 Record of Decision (ROD). Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for 1,4-Dioxane.

Continue reading

Progress on Remediation of VOCs at WR Grace Superfund Site

Since 1985, groundwater at the WR Grace Superfund Site in southeast Acton has been extracted and treated for volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Data from the 2018 annual monitoring report suggest that this remediation is making progress.

Continue reading

Green Acton Provides Stakeholder Input for WR Grace Superfund Site Five-year Review

As part of its regular schedule of every-five-years reviews of each active Superfund site, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seeks input from affected communities. The WR Grace site is up for review this year, and EPA sought input from Green Acton, the Acton Water District, and the Town of Acton Health Department.

Continue reading

Missed the 1,4-Dioxane Panel? View it here.

On Oct. 25, 2018, Acton residents benefited from a crash course on 1,4-Dioxane in Acton’s groundwater and drinking water.

From left to right: Moderator Kim Kastens and panelists Matt Mostoller, Dan Groher, and Diane Manganaro. Photo by Norm Strahle.

Continue reading

Has Acton’s 1,4-Dioxane situation been getting better or worse?

The previous post looked at the 1.5-year-old effort to divert 1,4-Dioxane in the Nuclear Metals, Inc. (NMI) plume before it can reach the public water supply. This post looks at a longer time frame, and asks whether dioxane levels in the Acton public water supply wells have been getting better or worse over the scale of a decade.

Continue reading

1,4-Dioxane

1,4-Dioxane is an organic compound that was widely used as a solvent and stabilizer in industrial applications during the late 20th century. Continue reading

Water Quality

Acton’s waters contain many materials in them other than pure H2O. Some of these are natural and others are introduced through human processes. This page indexes information about the quality of the groundwater, surface waters, and drinking water of Acton.

Continue reading

Perspectives: 1,4-Dioxane in Acton Water

By Lucy Kirshner

A year ago, I passed a neighbor on the street who shared her anxiety. “There is poison in our water!” she began. “It’s 1,4-Dioxane and the town knows, but all they’re doing is diluting it, not removing it.” Continue reading

Marys Brook Honors Mary Michaelman

Please see attached letter from the U.S. Board on Geographic Names accepting our proposal to make official the name, Marys Brook (apostrophes are not allowed) for the perennial stream that flows from Main Street in Acton, through the Acton Arboretum, joining with Coles Brook near Taylor Road and Route 2 (map attached).

The brook is named for Mary S. Michelman 2/14/1960 – 12/17/2010, Acton citizen, former president of Acton Citizens for Environmental Safety (ACES), founder of Acton Stream Teams, and assiduous environmental activist who fought for clean water in Acton.

Mary gave hundreds of volunteer hours researching and urging EPA and W.R. Grace to clean up the industrial pollution at the Acton W.R. Grace Superfund Cleanup site.

Mary died of cancer in 2010. The non-profit organization Green Acton has taken up the cause of environmental protection and conservation of local resources.

Marys Brook signs and a small plaque can be seen on Minot Avenue near the Conant School, and affixed to a trail boardwalk over the stream that now bears her name in the Acton Arboretum.