The site of the former Creese and Cook Tannery has just joined a list of the nation’s most complex and troubled hazardous waste sites.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency yesterday added the 17-acre site to its National Priorities List of Superfund sites, according to a statement from the agency.
The designation makes the contaminated former tannery land eligible for federal money and technical know-how for a study and cleanup. The site, an abandoned parcel with several owners, encompasses an area on both sides of the Crane River from Route 128 south along Clinton Avenue to Water Street in Danversport.
“The total cost for the cleanup will be considerable — well beyond the means of the neighbors or the town to handle on our own,” said Town Manager Wayne Marquis in an email statement. “EPA and (the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection) have done a super job in coordinating all aspects of this two-year-long process, which will ensure a timely cleanup.”
The exact extent of the contamination is not known. According to the statement, “EPA will investigate the full extent of the contamination before starting significant cleanup at the site. Therefore, it may take several years before significant EPA cleanup funding is required for these sites.”
“It’s good news for the town and the residents of the Crane River Condos,” said Director of Public Health Peter Mirandi, referring to the 28-unit condominium complex at 33 Water St. where high levels of arsenic have been found.
The condo site was once home to a leather tanning and finishing facility on the east bank of the river, something the state was not aware of until relatively recently. Much of the effort in the past had been focused on property at 55 Clinton Ave., where there was an extensive tannery operation on the west bank of the river.