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Harvard's deadline to clean up Case Estates arsenic extended

Posted by Ralph Ranalli May 25, 2007 06:02 AM

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Environtmental historian Brian Donahue and local resident Jack Williams at the Case Estates.

WESTON

The Board of Selectmen selectmen has voted this week to extend the deadline by which Harvard University has to submit a plan for cleaning up arsenic contamination found on parts of the Case Estates.

Harvard now has until June 13 to submit its plans to clean up the 62-acre former farm, which the town voted to purchase last fall. The land was owned by Harvard's Arnold Arboretum. Recent testing also found similar contamination on nearby land owned by the town. The contamination is believed to have come from lead arsenate, a commonly-used pesticide for apple trees from the early 1900s through the 1960s.

Town Manager Donna VanderClock said that a more permanent fence will be replacing the cautionary tape now surrounding the tainted site. VanderClock said the town is waiting for more test results before deciding how to proceed with the cleanup, but it will probably involve removing the tainted soil and replacing it with clean fill.

Meanwhile, Steven L. Charlip was elected to serve as the board's chairman, replacing Michael Harrity. The board's chairmanship rotates every year.

-- Stephanie V. Siek

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