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Posted on: November 8, 2019

East Park Update

The Town of Natick received notification of elevated polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in existing monitoring wells adjacent to East Park, 90 Oak Street.  Following the notification, the Town retained a licensed site professional (LSP) to assist in testing of Town owned land and is coordinating with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).  Six feet high fencing is being installed today and early next week by the baseball backstop and sloped area behind the backstop. The other fencing around the field was installed by the Town’s contractor to protect the new sod. In an abundance of caution, the Town of Natick made the decision to close all of East Park to the public. Signs are posted at the park noting that it is closed until further notice.  

Below is a factual summary related to PCBs and what is known related to East Park:

  • Reportable limits of PCBs in soil in Massachusetts is 1 part per million (ppm) or greater.
  • Preliminary data indicates that soil samples taken from behind the East Park baseball field  and bordering the park exceed 1pm.
  • Further soil test samples were taken this past week and the Town and its LSP are awaiting the results.
  • Commercial Production of PCBs began in 1929 and had many uses including: electrical equipment, transformers, surface coatings, flame-retardants, lubricants, paints, etc.
  • Though manufacturing was banned in 1979 PCBs still persist in the environment, as it does not readily breakdown.
  • Route of transmission of PCBs in humans is through ingestion of food, water, soil and by inhalation.
  • Unless exposed to high levels within the workplace or environment, it would take years of exposure to result in most adverse health effects from PCBs.

The Town anticipates receiving further soil lab results during the week of November 11th.  Following analysis of those results and in consultation with our LSP, DEP, and the Department of Public Health, the status of the East Park will be re-evaluated.  

We understand that there is concern and disappointment given the significant meaning of this park space for our community.  Without compromising the public’s health, we are working as efficiently as possible to determine the next steps.  The Town is planning to hold a community meeting to discuss public health questions regarding PCBs and this particular site.  We will continue to share information on this web page and our social media platforms as further specifics are determined.  Thank you in advance for your understanding and patience.

More detailed information regarding PCBs can be found https://www.epa.gov/pcbs/learn-about-polychlorinated-biphenyls-pcbs  Questions or concerns regarding this particular site should be directed to the Town of Natick’s Department of Public Health at 508.647.6460 or health@natickma.org

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