Soil and Sediment Remedial Investigation at the Parker Street Waste Site

LOCATION: New Bedford, MA

Soil and Sediment Remedial Investigation at the Parker Street Waste Site

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region I, under contract to WESTON Solutions, Inc.


  • Soil and sediment sample collection for PCBs, PAHs, and metals
  • Data Validation and Quality Controls established
  • High-profile site
  • Involvement with local, state, and federal agencies


As a subcontractor to WESTON Region 1 START (Superfund Technical Assessment and Response Team), Avatar provided essential skills necessary to assist with the sample collection and management of soil and sediment contaminated as the result of historical disposal practices in the New Bedford, MA area referred to as Parker Street Waste Site. This site is a very high priority for EPA, with significant community involvement, public interest, and concern. Sampling activities were carried out under the direction of EPA Region 1, specifically in accordance with SAP and QAPP documents prepared by New England EPA Emergency Planning and Response Branch (EPRB), Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), and WESTON Solutions, Inc.

While unrestricted hazardous waste disposal activities occurred between 1950 and 1960, construction of the New Bedford high school in 1970 spread most of the waste into a significantly larger area. Today, the extent of the hazardous material spread at Parker Street Waste Site is uncertain but estimated to be an area of 105 acres. Site boundaries were established during initial soil and sediment investigations by the presence of primary contaminants of concern (COC): PCBs and heavy metals (arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, and lead). PAHs were considered secondary COCs and dioxins were collected for potential future analysis. The Site consists of the local high school and middle school with two athletic fields and a wetland area as well as residential and commercial properties. Approximately 15,000 residents are within one half- mile of the exposure area.

The project objectives were to establish the most accurate approximation of contamination, modifying any existing Site boundaries if necessary, to determine if current hazards existed to the community and to what extent either time-critical or non-time critical remedial action was needed. Every effort was made to expedite turn-around results for PCBs and metals data. To execute this work, Avatar provided analytical support to New England EPA’s Office of Environmental Measurement and Evaluation (OEME) on-site mobile laboratory by preparing samples for PCB and metals analysis as well as managing the results database using SCRIBE format. This position allowed Avatar to interact with EPA OSCs to provide them with the most current data and immediate notification of action level exceedances. Avatar was also a key player within WESTON’s Data Management Team. Avatar’s responsibility was to track and record the movement of every field sample bag beginning with Soil Classification and ending at one of two on-site mobile laboratories for analysis. Handling COC forms and conducting QC data checks were a daily routine.

Avatar’s ability to communicate effectively and handle multiple tasks was recognized and commended.