Alewife Study Group > government > June 14 2001, State Representative Alice Wolf to DEP Search 

State Representative Alice Wolf to
Department of Environmental Protection

June 14, 2001

Commissioner Lauren Liss
Department of Environmental Protection
1 Winter Street
Boston, MA 02108

Dear Commissioner Liss:

I am writing with regard to the plans of W.R. Grace to excavate a utility trench on their site near Whittemore Avenue in my district in Cambridge. If Grace goes ahead with these plans, I ask that you provide an on-site official to monitor the excavation closely as it is occurring. I also urge you, prior to that time, to prevail upon Grace officials to tent and vent the excavation if they do go ahead with the dig.

As you are aware, asbestos has been found on the site. It is my understanding that the best way of handling development in soil that contains asbestos is to build over the soil without disturbing it. In my letter to Grace, attached, I am asking them to do just that or, if that is not possible, to tent and vent. I am also asking that they set monitoring devices appropriately as it has also come to my attention that the asbestos air-monitoring device is set at a higher level than maybe safe, which further concerns the neighborhood

I have worked on issues around the WR Grace site for over fifteen years. In the early years, when I was the Chair of the Cambridge City Council's Environment Committee, I worked very closely with DEP around potential public health issues. More recently, asbestos has been discovered on the land and, statutorily, DEP has somewhat less authority than it did in the 1980s and must rely to a great extent on a privatized system of evaluation.

Nevertheless, you are the Commonwealth's protector against environmental hazards and Cambridge needs your active participation in the oversight of the Grace site. That is why I am asking for your active oversight and participation.

I appreciate any assistance you can give to the City of Cambridge and to Cambridge residents.

Sincerely yours,

Alice K. Wolf
State Representative

cc: Secretary Durand, W.R. Grace, Congressman Capuano, Senator Tolman, Sam Lipson, Alewife Study Group

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