Wareham Selectmen OK spending $80,000 to study pollution at Tremont Nail

By Matthew Bernat | Oct 10, 2017
Photo by: Matthew Bernat On Tuesday, Selectmen authorized spending $80,000 to further study pollution levels at the Tremont Nail Factory District.

The Masschusetts Department of Environmental Protection is requiring town officials to dig deeper regarding pollution in the Tremont Nail Factory District.

On Tuesday, Selectmen authorized spending $80,000 for “Phase II Comprehensive Site Assessment” in the district, located on a 7.2-acre site on Elm Street. The area is home to several historic buildings that once belonged to the Tremont Nail Company, which built nails onsite for nearly 100 years.

The town of Wareham bought the property in 2004. In recent years, progress has been made in transforming the site into a destination, complete with shops, event space and perhaps housing. This summer, a car show was held in the district and in August a gala held there served as an open house for the property.

While redevelopment appears to be on the horizon, soil and groundwater was found to be contaminated with oil and other hazardous materials in 2016, according to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

Petroleum compounds, heavy metals, zinc and other materials were found at levels that exceed those set by the Massachusetts Oil and Hazardous Release Prevention Response Act.

As a result, further testing is required. The $80,000 came from funds that belonged to the now defunct Economic Development Industrial Corporation (EDIC), the predecessor to the town’s Community and Economic Development Authority (CEDA), which formed in 2004. At that time, funds from EDIC – generated through the sale of property – were transferred to CEDA.

Selectmen Chair Peter Teitelbaum said this next round of testing will provide a clearer picture of pollution levels at the site.

“It will better delineate the extent of the contamination uncovered in the initial investigation,” he said.

Comments (10)
Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Oct 11, 2017 07:11

Pollution is a major challenge with redeveloping that site.  The naysayers have emphasized it over the years. The latest proponents downplayed it by saying it wasn't as bad as originally thought.  I bought it and actually became supportive.  I fell for it.  This little $80,000 is just the tip of the iceberg.  Beware!  What about the failing dam?  That's been downplayed too.  When's the "study" on that going to be?

Posted by: Andrea Smith | Oct 11, 2017 11:28

Remember the funding for repairs that Town Meeting voted to approve in 2014, ($165,000 grant and the $835,000 bond request) after voters were told that “the town would likely lose the $165,000 grant if its voters went against accepting it and the bond request.”

And then after Town Meeting approved the funding (three years ago) the repairs weren’t done.

Some history from an October 27, 2014, Wareham Week article titled “Owners be darned, voters approve funding for Parker Mills Pond Dam repair”

After a lengthy discussion involving town officials and residents at Town Meeting Monday evening, voters approved the acceptance of $165,000 in previously approved state funding and an $835,000, two percent interest loan to repair the dam from the state to the town’s Community Preservation Committee. Repairs, which are estimated at $1.2 million, would include the Elm St. bridge that crosses the dam, which was recently closed due to a need for repair.

The dam, which is near the Tremont Nail Factory, is classified as a High Hazard Potential (Class 1) by the Office of Dam Safety at the Department of Conservation and Recreation, meaning that loss of life or major structural damage could occur if it failed.

An August 2014 report said the dam “faces a multitude of repairs in order to maintain public safety” and that an inspection showed “unstable upstream wall sections, sinkholes and leakage . . . and deterioration of concrete,” as just some of the problems, according to the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

Selectman Peter Teitelbaum argued against the suggestion of a further study as to who owns the land and the percentage each would pay for the project, saying the town would likely lose the $165,000 grant if its voters went against accepting it and the bond request.

“If we want to have access to this money—not just the $835,000 but also the $165,000—we need to vote it in now and get our application in,” said Teitelbaum. “It’s important not to spurn that money. Next time we ask for money, they’re gonna laugh at us.”


Posted by: greycat | Oct 11, 2017 21:01


Posted by: bob | Oct 12, 2017 07:16

More money down the river.....

Posted by: Knocked for six | Oct 13, 2017 07:38

This was a great investment !!!

Posted by: Rosebud | Oct 13, 2017 09:32

Why not just put $80,000 towards cleaning the site?

Posted by: felinesmom | Oct 13, 2017 09:38

Come on Rosebud--this is Wareham.  We can't do anything without at least 4 studies that wind up on a shelf collecting dust.

Posted by: Doctor Deekas | Oct 13, 2017 13:38

C'mon now, everyone together, say - " Nightmare on Elm Street " !!! It's all it has been and all it ever will be.....as long as the Town owns it at least.

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Oct 13, 2017 14:38

Andrea, thanks for that info.


Who knows if there is any new information or progress with the dam since 2014?  It is hard to believe that nothing has been done in 3 years on a high risk dam. Mr. Teitebaum doesn't want to be laughed at so one would assume that the dam issue would nearly be resolved by now.


I wish the dam would fail. Not completely. Not enough to hurt anybody and cause a lot of damage. Just enough to draw attention. Get the Boston Herald and Howie Carr down here to cover it, drawing bad publicity, and forcing something to be done. The headline would read: "Wareham Dam has Breached Despite Town Being Fully Aware of Risk for Several Years".


I said not completely...but I did just get a visual of how great it would be to watch the dam fail all at once, allowing gushing water to destroy that old factory.  That would end all this nonsense once and for all.



Posted by: cranky pants | Oct 13, 2017 17:06


Pay me 40 grand and I'll study the studies..

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