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Wells G & H
The Aberjona River at Salem Street
In September, 2000, the City of Woburn was awarded a $55,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund Pilot Redevelopment Initiative Program (SRI), to complete a Comprehensive Land Use Plan for the Wells G&H Superfund Area, the contaminated site in East Woburn at the center of a major environmental controversy over the last twenty years, which has brought national attention to the City of Woburn.  

The EPA grant was matched by a $45,000 contribution from three of the companies which have been identified by the agency as Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs), including W.R. Grace Company, Beatrice Foods, Inc., and Unifirst Corporation.

Land Use Plan
Under the scope of work of the SRI grant, the Woburn Redevelopment Authority, acting on behalf of the City of Woburn, has completed an extensive planning effort and prepared a draft Land Use Plan, which will help to guide the City in the development of future land use policies and economic development, infrastructure, and open space initiatives in the Wells G&H Area. The activities proposed in this plan will complement and build upon the ongoing environmental mitigation efforts of both the EPA and the private sector.  

In June, 2001, after an extensive solicitation process, the WRA retained the firm of Environmental Science Services, Inc., of Wellesley, Massachusetts, to provide environmental and land use consulting for the project. An advisory committee of nine individuals was appointed by the Mayor in November, 2001, to advise and oversee the planning effort. Three of the advisory committee members are residents of the surrounding area, three represent area property owners (including one who represents three of the responsible businesses which have executed consent decrees with the EPA), and three are representatives of municipal boards (the WRA, the Woburn Planning Board, and the Woburn Conservation Commission).  

Committee Meeting Information
The Committee held six meetings between December, 2001, and September, 2002, reviewing the work of both the WRA staff and the consultant, and provided general guidance as the components of the plan were developed. Using the land use data and information prepared by the WRA and ESS Group, the Advisory Committee selected three priority sites within the SRI Area for further analysis and planning.  

For each priority site, several alternative development scenarios were evaluated by the planning team. The City-owned parcels, which include Wells G&H, was automatically included within this parcel list and was analyzed to determine the feasibility of opening up and improving access to the area for passive recreation use. The three priority sites were:
  • W.R. Grace Company, 369 Washington Street
  • Aberjona Auto Parts, 280 Salem Street
  • City of Woburn Wells G&H Open Space

At the final meeting of September 2002, Wells G&H SRI Advisory Committee decided that it was important to await the results of the EPA’s Aberjona River Study Baseline Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment Report before finalizing the SRI Land Use Plan.