Local environmental advocacy group Hands Across the River Coalition, Inc. meets monthly. The next meeting takes place Wednesday, February 28, 2018 from 6:00-7:45 p.m. at the Millicent Library, Fairhaven, MA. Open to the public. Attendees are advised to use the Walnut Street entrance on lower level.
Hands Across the River Coalition, Inc. advocates for the safe cleanup of New Bedford Harbor and other contaminated sites in the Greater New Bedford area. The group provides information about the detrimental health effects caused to our community from toxic chemicals such as PCBs, DIOXIN, mercury, lead and others. HARC was formed in anticipation of the cleanup of contamination in the Acushnet River that needed to be done in order to protect human health.
HARC’s primary goal is to ensure the health-conscious clean up of the Acushnet River which runs through New Bedford Harbor into Buzzards Bay, to monitor and advocate for the total preservation of said body of water and shoreline, educate the community about the health effects of toxic chemicals in our environment, to obtain environmental justice for generations now and in the future and to ensure a quality environment, forever, through its efforts.
The Acushnet River was known to be the #1 most PCB contaminated river in the world.
Concerns about fish consumption with PCB contaminated fish prompted the EPA to designate this site as the “New Bedford Harbor Superfund Site.” It is the largest Superfund site in all of New England. Through years of hard work from HARC’s 600 members, other community groups, and strong Congressional support against the EPA’s plans to incinerate the PCBs in New Bedford, the EPA decided to withdraw its plans. Later, they developed a much safer plan, when the EPA began full scale, hydraulic dredging of PCBs in the Upper Harbor in September of 2004. PCB sediments were then sent to an off-site TSCA, (Toxic Substances Control Act), approved landfill in Michigan.
Today, Upper Harbor sediments are still being sent offsite due to the much higher concentrations of PCBs in that area dumped by the responsible party, Aerovox, now AVX who is owned by Kyocera in Japan. Currently, after a $366,250,000.00 plus interest settlement, the EPA is in the process of mechanically dredging and dumping 300,000 cubic yards of PCB sediments into the Lower Harbor riverbed near a residential area and high school in Fairhaven, MA. You would think, after such a huge settlement, that the EPA would remove all the PCBs from the river offsite but instead, is burying a large amount in the riverbed. This is the first time in the entire country that the EPA is burying deadly, cancer causing PCB sediments in the riverbed dangerously close to residents. This is our fight today. HARC questions how the EPA is spending the money from the settlement with plans to leave 50 PPM (parts per million) of PCBs behind after their dredging is completed. This amount left will continue to contaminate the fish and in turn affect public health.
Hands Across the River Coalition, Inc. appeals to everyone to join them in working to protect our air, soil and water, and especially public health, by removing all PCBs safely to an offsite TSCA, approved landfill.
For more information, contact Karen Vilandry, HARC president (508) 951-1184 firstname.lastname@example.org
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