July 24--Opponents of a proposed compressor station in North Weymouth are welcoming a call for air quality tests to be done in neighborhoods near the Fore River basin by Congressman Stephen Lynch, D-South Boston.
Lynch said he wants the EPA to conduct comparison tests after independent monitoring by consultants working with the Fore River Residents Against the Compressor showed that the area already has levels of benzene and other pollutants well in excess of existing standards.
"This is not what we expected. This is different," Lynch said during a visit to one of the group's 10 test sites, in the backyard of a home on Cotton Avenue in East Braintree.
The air quality tests done in April by Braintree based GeoLabs and Phoenix Environmental Laboratories of Connecticut found levels of benzene, methylene chloride, 1.2 dichloropropane, 2-hexaanone, alkanes, hexane, acetone and ethanol that exceeded DEP standards, according to Dr. Curtis L. Nordgaard, a Newton pediatrician.
Nordgaard detailed the findings during a meeting with the Fore River Residents Against the Compressor in May.
Alice Arena, co-leader of the Fore River Residents Against the Compressor or FRRAC, said the group is grateful for Lynch's support.
"We are most encouraged that his office is investigating the air quality issue," she said. "He is very concerned that these conditions still exist in the Fore River basin."
Enbridge Inc. is proposing to construct a 7,700 horsepower compressor station near the Fore River Bridge.
Michael Lang, an East Braintree Civic Association member, said air quality tests done in his backyard on Cotton Avenue had findings that were similar to other places near the Fore River.
"My house backs up to Heritage Lane, where there is senior housing," he said. "That is significant."
Nordgaard said during his meeting with Lynch the nearby Citgo petroleum terminal, Calpine power plant, and boat and vehicle traffic are "the likely suspects" for the high levels of benzene and other chemicals.
Compressor opponents say Dallas-based Spectra Energy, which proposed the compressor facility before Enbridge purchased the firm, failed to account for benzene and other pollutants already in the area's air when it produced its own air-quality report.
Spectra identified at least 10 carcinogenic chemicals that the 7,700-horsepower compressor station would emit.
Weymouth District 1 Councilor Rebecca Haugh said she is pleased Lynch is requesting an EPA air evaluation of the neighborhoods near the proposed compressor site.
"Congressman Lynch has been at the forefront for two years," she said. "He came to the site to see what is happening and to see what we are fighting. He has supported us for a long time now."
Haugh said the air quality near the Fore River basin should be evaluated even if a compressor was not proposed for the site.
The proposed compressor station location is in a heavily industrialized area that includes Citgo Marine Petroleum Terminal, Twin Rivers Technologies, Braintree Electric Light Department, a regional sewage pump station operated by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, a sewage pelletizing plant operated by the MWRA, a hazardous waste transfer and treatment facility owned by Clean Harbors, and small oil storage facilities and tanks owned by Calpine Corp.
Lynch said it is critical to have all the facts about potential risks to the environment, public health and public safety.
"I thank Dr. Nordgaard, Alice Arena, Councilor Becky Haugh, Councilor Margaret LaForest, and other local advocates for their commitment to promoting a safe and healthy environment for residents of Weymouth, Braintree, Quincy, and surrounding communities," Lynch said in a written statement. "Following my review of Dr. Nordgaard's testing, I plan to take the concerns raised by the local community to the Environmental Protection Agency."
"I have been in contact with Governor Baker about this issue and will continue to consult the Governor as well as our local elected officials moving forward. The health and well-being of area families are of the utmost importance."
Baker has directed state agencies to conduct a public safety review, an air quality assessment and a flood risk evaluation of the proposed compressor station site before any permits are issued for the facility.
Patriot Ledger reporter Lane Lambert contributed to this report. Like the Weymouth News on Facebook!
(c)2017 The Patriot Ledger, Quincy, Mass.
Visit The Patriot Ledger, Quincy, Mass. at www.patriotledger.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
© Tribune Content Agency, source Regional News