EEA to Solicit Proposals for Upper Cape Cod Groundwater Restoration Projects

Proposals due in March for projects to help compensate citizens for years of environmental degradation at Massachusetts Military Reservation

BOSTON - Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary (EEA) Ian Bowles today announced that his Natural Resource Damages Assessment and Restoration Program has released a formal Request for Responses (RFR) inviting proposals for $960,000 in projects to restore, replace, or acquire natural resources at the Massachusetts Military Reservation (MMR), a 20,000-acre area of Upper Cape Cod that includes the Massachusetts Air and Army National Guard and Coast Guard command centers.

"The restoration work we are funding will help to compensate the UpperCape for years of groundwater pollution," Secretary Bowles said. "Ilook forward to receiving a wide array of proposals aimed at protectingthis region’s clean drinking water – a fundamental right for all of ourcitizens."

The Commonwealth claims that Textron Systems Corp.’s development and explosive testing of tactical weapons systems at MMR contaminated the groundwater with the hazardous material and weapons propellant perchlorate – an inorganic chemical that is highly mobile in water and can persist for years under typical conditions – as well as other hazardous substances.

As trustee of the Commonwealth’s natural resources, Secretary Bowles has recovered from Textron $1 million in natural resource damages (NRD) to compensate the public for natural resources and services lost due to Textron’s release of contaminants.  The Commonwealth’s primary goal is to restore, enhance, or protect the Upper Cape’s interconnected and renewable groundwater resources. These resources are critical to ensuring the availability of safe drinking water, promoting sustainable development, and sustaining water-dependent ecosystems.

"The restoration work we are funding will help to compensate the Upper Cape for years of groundwater pollution," Secretary Bowles said. "I look forward to receiving a wide array of proposals aimed at protecting this region’s clean drinking water – a fundamental right for all of our citizens."

Those eligible to apply for NRD funds include private individuals; local, state, federal and tribal governments; academic institutions; non-profit organizations, consulting firms, and businesses.  Proposed groundwater restoration projects must be located on Upper Cape Cod within the communities of Sandwich, Bourne, Falmouth or Mashpee. A bidder’s conference will be held on Monday, January 26, at 1 p.m. at Bridge Bourne Hotel, 100 Trowbridge Road in Bourne, where EEA will answer questions about this RFR and the NRD Program in general.

The RFR is available electronically through the Comm-PASS system.  Applications are due on Wednesday, March 11.

From 1968 to 1999, Textron or its predecessors, under contracts with the US Department of Defense, conducted munitions testing in the area of J-3 Range at MMR. J-3 Range lies above the Cape Cod Sole Source Aquifer, which supplies drinking water for approximately 147,772 permanent and 424,445 peak seasonal residents of Cape Cod.

A settlement, entered into US District Court in 2008, resolved the state’s NRD claims against Textron, and is the largest state-only recovery for groundwater NRD obtained by the Commonwealth. Filed jointly by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office and the US Department of Justice, the court-entered Consent Decree also resolved related federal NRD claims.  NRD is a category of legal damages defined by various state and federal statutes as compensation for injury to, destruction of, or loss of natural resources, including the reasonable costs of a damage assessment. This settlement covered Textron’s share of the cost of restoring injured resources to their baseline condition, compensation for the interim loss of damaged resources, and the reasonable cost of conducting the damage assessment.

Restoration is made possible through cooperative efforts of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Program of EEA, working with the public and other government agencies such as the Department of Environmental Protection and Federal Trustees.  EEA Trustee representatives, who administer the NRD funds and will work with local communities to implement the restoration, are EEA NRD Program Director Dale Young and NRD Case Manager Karen Pelto.  

Release courtesy of the Massachusetts EEA.

Read earlier stories here and here.

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