Frequently Asked Questions

Compounds related to both the former Manufactured Gas Plant (MGP) operations and to other waterfront operations, such as boat building and painting, have been found at the Site.

The primary MGP-related compounds found in soil and sediment samples from the Site were coal tar and various heavy petroleum hydrocarbons such as C11-C22 aromatic hydrocarbons and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). In a few locations on the Site, dense non-aqueous phase liquid (DNAPL, or a form of coal tar that separates from water) was observed in monitoring wells and sediments. Some lighter hydrocarbons, known as volatile organic compounds, were also detected in groundwater samples collected from the upland area and porewater samples collected from the harbor. The primary non-MGP-related compounds detected at the Site were metals, which were commonly used in boat paints. More information about these compounds can be found in Phase II.

Yes. Health and safety is our top priority as we work to remediate the Site. Members of the community are safe, because the compounds are located beneath the surface, and cannot be reached without excavation. We are carefully planning this project in conjunction with multiple local, state, and federal regulatory agencies so that the remediation process will not pose risks to the community, and will closely monitor the Site as we perform future work. We will make every effort to keep neighbors and other interested parties informed of our efforts.

No. The former MGP Site is located more than a mile away from the Gloucester public water reservoirs, and will have no impact on the water supply. The municipal drinking water system provides drinking water for the Site and surrounding neighborhood.

No. Making sure the air is safe to breathe is part of our commitment to protecting the health and safety of the people who live and work near the Site. While we don’t expect this project to have an impact on air quality, we have developed an air monitoring plan and set up a series of detectors to measure air quality around the work area. We will monitor the readings from the detectors closely to make sure that compounds do not adversely affect air quality. If a reading exceeds the conservative limit set before the work starts, we will immediately take actions as necessary, such as covering the excavation or spraying water or foam to reduce the levels until the reading drops below the limit.

National Grid is committed to remediating the Site in a safe and prudent way, and in full accord with relevant Massachusetts environmental regulations (known as the Massachusetts Contingency Plan) and federal and state permit requirements. After evaluating various technologies, we have developed a cleanup approach that is effective, timely, and feasible. As part of the cleanup, we will:

  • Remove soil from the upland areas, and sediment from the harbor, and transport them to an off-Site facility for proper treatment and disposal.
  • Build a new seawall to serve as a barrier between coal tar in the soil and the harbor.
  • Pump DNAPL from the groundwater and transport it off the Site for proper disposal.
  • Cap some of the park, and some of the harbor sediments.
  • Place deed restrictions where appropriate for long-term maintenance of the caps.
  • Manage deep soil conditions at the Site.

We have submitted our studies and plans to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) and to other federal, state, and local permitting agencies. For more information on the remediation plans, please click here, and for more details on the permits and approvals that we have obtained, please click here.

We will continue to engage the community and keep all stakeholders apprised of remediation plans and activities, and we welcome feedback from the community regarding National Grid’s selected approach.

In-water work can only be conducted in the fall and winter months to comply with fisheries regulations and property owner restrictions. The work will begin in the fall of 2015. Because of the size of the project, it will likely take two to three work seasons to complete.

No. National Grid will undertake measures as described in the Project Mitigation section of this website to limit impacts to the community and the environment during the project. We are working with the property owners within the Site boundaries to coordinate the various tasks that must be conducted, and to arrange to temporarily re-locate those limited operations that will be affected during parts of the project. The project contractors will implement traffic plans and monitoring plans so that operations outside the Site boundaries are not adversely affected. Boat traffic in the navigation channel will continue throughout the project.

Throughout the project, National Grid will work closely with local agencies and the Coast Guard so that the cleanup occurs in a safe manner, and will keep neighbors updated of the progress of the remediation.

No. National Grid recognizes the importance of tourist activity along the Gloucester waterfront, and will therefore conduct work in Solomon Jacobs Park outside the busy summer tourist season. Each work season of project will start after Labor Day, and will be completed by Memorial Day. Public facilities such as the park and landing that are closed during the work season will be restored for use during the summer. As a result of the project, the park and waterfront infrastructure will be restored and will provide an enhanced experience for residents and visitors to the area.

In general, the water quality in the harbor will not be impacted and will likely be improved at the completion of the work. During the project, there may be temporary impacts to water quality where the work is being performed; however, the project design includes environmental controls within and around the work area that have been developed based on considerable experience and expertise to manage potential water quality impacts.

The cleanup will be conducted in accordance with a Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection permit called a Water Quality Certificate, which includes monitoring requirements that we must meet to protect water quality. In addition to this monitoring, our contractors will have the expertise and equipment to address debris, oil, and/or fine sediment suspended in the water during the project. The work area will be encircled by booms, which will prevent debris and oil sheens from spreading outside the work zone. The sheens will be removed using specially designed absorbent materials, and the debris will be removed by the end of each work day. The work area will also be surrounded by turbidity curtains, which are floating barriers to contain fine sediment particles that may be suspended in the water within the work zone. These measures are designed to be protective of marine life and the environment.

There will be very little impact to traffic during the busy summer months, because the construction phase of the project will not begin until after the tourist season. We do anticipate some mobilization activities to begin on the National Grid property before Labor Day, but those activities will not be significantly different than existing activities and, therefore, should not impact traffic. There will be minimal impact during the fall and winter, when the project is underway. To reduce the project-related traffic on the roads, most of the dredged material will be moved to the treatment and disposal facility by barge. When materials have to be transported to and from Harbor Loop by truck, the contractor will be required to schedule trucks to avoid traffic backups, and to follow a truck route outside the downtown area. The truck route and other details related to traffic management will be laid out in a traffic plan, which will be coordinated with city officials and neighboring property owners before the work begins.

No. As part of the permitting process, National Grid has submitted plans to the Massachusetts Historical Commission, the Massachusetts Board of Underwater Archeological Resources, and the Gloucester Historical Commission. Any historical structures that must be removed to provide access to impacted soil or sediments will be replaced in accordance with the requirements of these agencies.

National Grid representatives regularly share up-to-date information with the community. We are making information available in a variety of ways, including through:

  • Updates during remediation on the project website
  • Fact sheets to communicate new information and/or achievement of significant milestones
  • Mailed notices to nearby property owners, tenants, and others about our activities. We’re happy to share this information with anyone who would like it, by mail, email or both. To be added to the Site’s email list, please visit the Contact section of this website.

You can access project documents we submitted to MassDEP and other regulatory agencies on the Documents page of this website or on the MassDEP website.

You can also contact Kenneth E. Lento, the National Grid Project Manager, at Kenneth.Lento@nationalgrid.com with any questions.