Cambridge Cited for Waste

State Report Finds 11 Dangerous Local Sites

Cambridge currently houses 11 confirmed hazardous waste sites, according to a report released yesterday by the state Department of Environmental Quality Engineering (DEQE).

The report, which was issued to comply with the referendum on toxic waste approved by state voters in November, lists 556 confirmed hazardous waste sites and 408 suspected sites in Massachusetts.

A lot owned by Star Market at 99 Mt. Auburn St. was included as one of the nine sites in Cambridge with confrmed petroleum leaks. The Riverfront Office Park and a site at 62 Whitemore Avenue owned by W.R. Grace are also on the list of confirmed hazardous waste sites.

Formerly a gas station, the confirmed site at Mt. Auburn St. showed minimal leakage from the old gas tanks, according to Brian Pijanowski, a spokesman for Star Market. "This spring we will remove the tanks, [to comply with state] regulations," he said. "There is no risk or hazard due to the leaks."

The W.R. Grace site was listed by DEQE as having polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heavy metal wastes. The site has already been assessed by the Environmental Protection Agency and W.R. Grace was not required to do any specific clean-up, said company spokesman Mark Stoler.

"I'm a bit surprised the list has been released without notifying the people involved," he said. He added that extensive clean-up work has already been done on the site.

The referendum, which was sponsored by the Massachussetts Public Interest Research Group (Mass PIRG), also called for the release of a list of suspected waste sites by January 15. Suspected sites are locations where the Department has not yet determined whether contamination is present.

The list of suspected sites was compiled based on "former uses of the property, past disposal problems, patterns of industrial use" and complaints made by members of the community, said Bonnie Sachent, a DEQE spokesman.

The suspected sites in Cambridge include the Tobin School, an elementary school in North Cambridge; the Briston Arms, an apartment Building on Garden St.; 353 Huron Ave.; Fresh Pond Shopping Center; and Jefferson Park Apartments.

The referendum also requires the state to report on the actual status of sites on the suspected list within one year. Steven Kadish, the legislative director of Mass Public Interest Research Group, said the state aimed to release a list of 600 more suspected sites by this time next year, and 1000 the year after that.