Meeting to Focus on Contaminated Land off Hartwell Road

December 5, 2022

The annual public meeting of the Bedford Restoration Advisory Board reporting on continuing efforts to clean the contaminated federal land north of Hartwell Road is scheduled for Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Flint Room of Town Center. The meeting also will be available on Zoom.

The area, once known as the Naval Weapons Industrial Reserve Plant (NWIRP), has been contaminated for decades. Ongoing environmental cleanups are covered under the federal law known as the Superfund.

“The meeting will include a summary of the current status of the ongoing remedial actions implemented at the environmental restoration sites,” according to the announcement by the U.S. Navy. 

Besides naval representatives, participants will include officials from the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Environmental Protection.

The site hasn’t been in private hands since 1942 when it was part of the area taken by eminent domain for construction of Hanscom Field. For many years, it was home to part of Raytheon’s Missile Systems Division operations. But the parcel has been vacant since 2000.

Last year, an ad hoc committee delivered a 155-page report to the Select Board on the history of the site and prospects for divestiture.

Concern was elevated after the Navy sold the segment south of Hartwell Road to a private bidder. The town did not have an opportunity to make an offer before the land was put up for auction, contrary to expectations. The owner of the former Navy hangar has said he wants to use it for its original purpose.

Federal officials have said that sale of the acreage on the north side continues to be delayed by persistent contamination. 

In its report, the ad hoc committee noted that “the Navy’s responsibility for remediation of the contaminated groundwater emanating from Hartwell’s Hill will continue for many years (most likely decades), but does not preclude divestiture of the NWIRP and transfer to a new owner long before the Navy’s ultimate cleanup goal is achieved.”

The full report is available at https://www.bedfordma.gov/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/275.

To attend the meeting virtually, the electronic link is https://tinyurl.com/RAB8DEC, meeting ID  256 649 053 618, passcode fBkvM4. There is also an option to call in, 617-865-5234, access code 835 449 599#.

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