Environmental Clean-Up


Orange cross-hatched area indicates area of Skillings Field to be capped

For many years (1932-1949), Skillings Field was used as a municipal disposal area. Household trash, building rubble, old cars and similar refuse, as well as potential tannery waste from the adjacent Beggs & Cobb facility, were all disposed of at that site. In later years and as late as 1967, the Town also disposed of incinerator ash at the site. The site was later converted to field space with construction of culverts and the use of more suitable fill to bring to appropriate grade.

As part of preliminary design for the proposed culvert and for the WHS renovation, testing revealed the presence of certain contaminants in the soil at Skillings Field. These test results were not surprising given the history of the use of the land at Skillings, but they did trigger regulatory obligations and subsequent remediation will be required. While the contaminants do not represent an Imminent Hazard pursuant to the regulations, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) requires the Town to cap the site and satisfy regulatory requirements by November of 2019. See VHB letter dated December 2014, which indicates that the required remediation will ensure the long-term safety of the site, and is consistent with responsible stewardship of the land.

Remediation of the site involves removing the top 2 feet of contaminated soil from approximately 7.2 acres (Skillings Field consists of approximately 16.5 acres), disposing of approx 23,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil, and then installing a “cap” made up of  erosion fabric and orange-colored warning barriers, overlain by 18 inches of clean fill material, and 6 inches of clean top soil. See VHB letter dated December 2014 and Report to BOS dated March 16, 2015.

The Mass DEP has given preliminary approval for the proposed method of remediation (excavation and capping). If the project proceeds on the proposed schedule, the estimated cost for final design, permitting and construction is $4.0 million. (This compares to a cost of $4.2 million if conducted on a stand-alone basis.)   See VHB letter dated December 2014.  Costs could be reduced by as much as $2 million depending on soil quality, but this will not be known until the environmental remediation has begun.

While the tax impact will depend on lending terms at the time of borrowing (anticipated to be in the Spring of 2016), it is likely that the term of the bonds would be 25 years, with an annual tax impact of approximately $35 for a home of average value ($872,100).[1] More information regarding the estimated tax impact is available HERE.

[1] This estimate is for illustrative purposes only. The actual tax impact will depend on a variety of factors such as borrowing terms and time of borrowing.