Panel Seeks Formal Reports on Lead, Energy at Hanscom Field

November 22, 2022

The Hanscom Field Advisory Commission is requesting a formal commitment from the Massachusetts Port Authority to address issues of potential lead contamination and renewable energy at the airport.

Commission members at a virtual meeting on Tuesday unanimously approved a memorandum to include the topics in the scope of the upcoming Environmental Status and Planning Report (ESPR) for the facility.

The ESPR is a massive document, required every five years under state law, addressing current and potential activity levels and environmental conditions at Hanscom Field. The public comment period on the proposed scope closes on Dec. 9.

Christopher Eliot of Lincoln, chair of the commission, proposed the recommendations in a two-page document. The HFAC asks that the ESPR include: 

  • “A study of airfield soil and possibly air and water samples collected and analyzed for lead.” Residents are concerned because “construction projects periodically haul soil through our communities.”
  • “A detailed sequence of verifiable milestones culminating in the rollout of unleaded aviation gas at Hanscom Field.”
  • The percentage of “airport electrical usage expected to be produced on site without carbon emissions.”
  • “A table showing milestones along the path to achieving net zero carbon emissions,” in the categories of aircraft and building emissions.

“There has been a lot of discussion of alternate fuels for aircraft, which promise to reduce local emissions and may reduce noise levels,” the memorandum says.

“It would be very useful to have a properly researched discussion of these future technologies, including best estimates of expected deployments and likely beneficial impacts.”

The commission also submitted a proposal on water quality. Pointing out that the airport is in the Shawsheen River watershed, the memo asserts that area drinking water supplies “could be affected by salt, de-icing compounds, or other chemicals used on the airport.”

“We request ongoing and active testing of water flowing from the airport to increase confidence in the safety of our water supplies.”

A virtual public meeting detailing the proposed scope of the 2022 Hanscom Field ESPR is scheduled for Nov. 28 at 6 p.m. (

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