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Environmental Cleanup of 150 Sohier Road
Beverly Massachusetts

Updated 6-12-2024

This website provides information about the environmental cleanup of the property located at 150 Sohier Road in Beverly, Massachusetts. Investigation and treatment of the site is being conducted in accordance with Massachusetts General Law 21E and the Massachusetts Contingency Plan (310 CMR 40.0000). The site is listed with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) as site number 3-0000485, Varian-Microwave Div., and reports can be found in the MassDEP data portal under “Supporting Documents.” 

Varian Begins New Phase of Environmental Cleanup

In the past two years, environmental investigations and cleanup of the former Varian site have progressed rapidly. Prior investigations and treatment have been conducted at the site since the 1990s. These efforts were renewed and enhanced starting in 2021. Since then, the Varian project team has worked with the community and MassDEP to conduct additional investigations of indoor air, surface water and sediment, groundwater, soil, and bedrock. An updated risk assessment has been completed based on the additional data.

The risk assessment concluded that site contaminants pose no “significant risk” for local residents and current workers at the former Varian property, with the existing soil vapor treatment systems operating on the property.

Additional treatment is required under state cleanup laws to prevent potential future risk and to limit the future migration of contaminants. In 2022 and 2023, the project team identified and selected updated treatment alternatives for six areas, prepared detailed implementation plans, and has begun installing these systems.

“No Significant Risk” is a regulatory term based on site data. It describes when a contaminant is not present or exists below a level that would cause a defined level of increased risk to human health or the environment.

Figure 1 Site Map and Selected Treatment Areas

Treatment System Progress

Environmental cleanup is focused on six project areas (figure 1) and summarized below. More information about cleanup progress can be found on our Environmental page.

Building 3 Thermal Treatment

Status: The selected remedy – thermal treatment – was presented in the Phase IV Remedy Implementation Plan (Part 1) in June 2023. Well field design and contracting were completed in the fall. Drilling of thermal wells outside Building 3 began in December 2023.

Current and upcoming work: Drilling of thermal wells outside Building 3 is wrapping up, pending removal of the asbestos-containing debris under the IRA Plan later in June. Buildout of new workspaces inside the CPI buildings and moving of CPI equipment in preparation for the interior drilling have been completed. The area where indoor drilling will take place is being prepared for the work (e.g., utility identification, air monitoring program, installation of access door, sealing, etc.). Interior well drilling is expected to begin in June or July.

Tozer Road Groundwater Treatment Barrier

Status: The selected remedy – a groundwater treatment barrier – was presented in the Phase IV Remedy Implementation Plan (Part 1) in June 2023. Planning and contracting for the pre-design investigation was completed in the fall. The pre-design investigation includes a membrane interface probe-hydraulic profiling tool (MiPHT) investigation, which will provide additional high-resolution data to help refine the treatment barrier design.

Current and upcoming work: Varian field crews conducted fieldwork for the MiPHT investigation in February and March. Additional soil and groundwater sampling will be completed in July to support the final design of the barrier. Weekend drilling work is required at the educational center property at 28 Tozer Rd to prevent disruption to the students. The schedule for barrier installation will be finalized once the investigations are complete.

Stream A Granular Activated Carbon Adsorptive Barrier

Status: The selected remedy – a granular activated carbon adsorptive barrier – was presented in the Phase IV Remedy Implementation Plan (Part 1) in June 2023. The carbon mats were installed in October 2023.

Current and upcoming work: Regular inspection of the treatment mats has continued as scheduled. An historical drainpipe was encountered during the installation of the adsorptive barrier. The adsorptive barrier covers the drainpipe and treats the discharge. Video inspection of the drainpipe is expected to take place on June 6th. A robocall notification will be sent to the local neighborhood early in the week.

PSL-10 Subgrade Biogeochemical Reactor

Status: The selected remedy – a subgrade biogeochemical reactor – was presented in the Phase IV Remedy Implementation Plan (Part 3) and at a public meeting in November 2023, with completion of the public comment period (including responses to comments) in January 2024.

Current and upcoming work: System design is complete. Contracting for the installation of the remedy is ongoing and construction is expected to begin in the fall.

Building 5 Bioremediation

Status: The selected remedy – bioremediation – was presented in the Phase IV Remedy Implementation Plan (Part 2) and at a public meeting in November 2023, with completion of the public comment period in January 2024.

Current and upcoming work: The pre-design investigation plan is wrapping up and contracting for the drilling is ongoing. As previously discussed, the Varian team is planning to use pressure injection beneath the building to increase the influence of the treatment. A structural evaluation of the building will be completed in the summer to confirm that the pressure injection will not impact the active facility building. Drilling and treatment are expected to be completed this fall following the structural evaluation. Treatment will include fans of wells beneath Building 5.

Bedrock In Situ Chemical Oxidation

Status: The selected remedy – in situ chemical oxidation – was presented in the Phase IV Remedy Implementation Plan (Part 2) and at a public meeting in November 2023, with completion of the public comment period in January 2024.

Current and upcoming work: A pre-design investigation plan has been finalized and contracting for the drilling is ongoing. Drilling is expected to begin in June or July. The investigation will include the installation of bedrock wells and testing to confirm connections in bedrock fractures.

Site-Wide Sampling

Jacobs continued monitoring site-wide conditions by completing sampling at approximately 125 groundwater wells and 15 surface water locations across the site. This effort was completed earlier in May 2024. Sampling results will be documented in the next status report due in August 2024.

Routine indoor air monitoring was conducted at a commercial property on Tozer Road during the week of May 27, 2024.

Routine maintenance of the sub-slab depressurization system and indoor air sampling will be conducted at a Longview Drive property in June.

Site History and Overview

The former Varian Facility, located at 150 Sohier Road, is currently owned by another firm and operated as an active manufacturing facility for microwave and radar products.

The 150 Sohier Road property has been used as an industrial facility since the early 1950s. Industrial solvents were released to the environment due to the chemical handling and disposal practices that were common at the time, before more strict environmental regulations were enacted. These solvents, used primarily for surface treatment, cleaning, and degreasing operations, included trichloroethene (TCE), perchloroethene (PCE), and 1,1,1-trichloroethane (TCA). Releases of these solvents occurred in three main areas: the Building 3 area, the Building 5 area, and an open field known as PSL-10.

TCE, PCE, and TCA are heavier than water and have limited ability to dissolve in water. For that reason, they are often referred to as “dense nonaqueous phase liquids” (DNAPLs). They also tend to evaporate easily and are referred to as volatile organic compounds or VOCs.

Opportunities for Public Involvement

Meetings presentations, videos, posters, the most recent fact sheet, and information about how you can learn more can be found on our Public Involvement page.

The next public meeting is scheduled for mid-September, 2024.

Our Commitment

Varian is committed to conducting response actions according to the Massachusetts Contingency Plan, engaging stakeholders, and keeping the community informed of progress.

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