Following the fanfare and announcement last spring, residents and federal officials met to begin digging into the nitty-gritty details of how the Superfund cleanup of a 3.7 mile stretch of the lower Neponset River will be carried out.
The area of the Neponset slated for cleanup of hazardous chemicals starts with its confluence with Mother Brook, a much smaller stream, in Hyde Park.
It follows the river as it flows roughly along the border of Boston and Milton and ends at the Walter Baker Dam at Lower Mills and Milton Village.
The fanfare came at a press conference in March that drew national attention with the announcement that the site had been added to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL), triggering an onslaught of federal money and help.
The first of three workshop and listening sessions was held both in person in Milton and by Zoom on Nov. 10.
Meetings were also held in Mattapan on Nov. 15 and Hyde Park on Nov. 17.
Officials from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), who will head up the cleanup, described the process that will take several years and assured the community that it wants to partner with local officials and hear from the diverse residents who use the area and live along it.
Helen DuTeau, chief of public affairs for the federal office of EPA, said, “This workshop is a new effort to promote early community engagement in the Superfund process. We know from experience how important it is to learn from the community.”
At the Nov. 10 meeting, residents asked officials whether the project might be expanded to include areas below the Baker Dam or Pine Tree Brook.
Residents also asked if fish ladders could be installed and if the cleanup could include other forever chemicals including PFAS.
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