WATER QUALITY

Cancer Cluster Task Force Subcommittee Formed

The Governor’s Task Force on the Seacoast Cancer Cluster formed a subcommittee on September 14, to focus specifically on the Coakley landfill and the implications of the contamination and what can be done to deal with it.

The subcommittee was formed as concerns about toxins from the Superfund cleanup site contaminating water and area wells continues to grow.

Subcommittee Chair Mindi Messmer said, “The key role is to really get down to working with DES to come up with a plan for evaluating Coakley.”

DES project manager of the Coakley site, Drew Hoffman said the state plans to send out postcards to residents living east of the landfill who might not have connected to public water line that was installed in 1980s. He said DES will also continue to monitor for contaminants in private wells to the north of the landfill.

Hoffman said this is an area where we’ve put a lot of our efforts and concern, largely due to the cluster of private wells that are tapping the water to the north and drinking that water.

DES is working with the Coakley Landfill Group to test surface water from Berry Brooke and Little River near the landfill. He said DES will also be working with the town of Greenland to test private wells and the help analyze the test results.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Jim Murphy said the five year review of the Coakley landfill is almost complete and will release the findings at the end of the month. He said EPA officials are looking closely at contamination of groundwater outside the landfill by 1.4 dioxane and PFCs.