Skip to content
Environmental Cleanup of 150 Sohier Road
Beverly Massachusetts

Updated 3-29-2024

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. 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 ongoing. Buildout of new workspaces inside the CPI buildings and moving of equipment in preparation for the interior drilling should finish in April. Interior well drilling should begin in May.

During outdoor utility clearing work, localized asbestos-containing material was encountered buried in soil and needs to be abated. MassDEP has been notified and an abatement plan will be submitted. After MassDEP approval of the abatement plan, an Immediate Response Action (IRA) Plan, which will go through a public comment period, will be issued for the work. This IRA Plan is expected to be ready later in April.

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 field work for the MiPHT investigation in February and March and this portion of the investigation is finished. Additional soil and groundwater sampling will be completed in the spring to support final design of the barrier. Barrier installation will follow.

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. Design was completed and the carbon mat was installed in October 2023. 

Current and upcoming work: An historical drainpipe was encountered during installation of the adsorptive barrier. The adsorptive barrier covers the drainpipe and treats the discharge. A video inspection of the drainpipe is expected to be completed in April. The treatment mats will continue to be inspected as scheduled.

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 began in February and is now 60% complete. Underground utility information from the Cities of Beverly and Salem are being considered in the design. Contracting for the installation of the remedy will begin in April.

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 drilling is beginning. Drilling is expected to begin in the spring. Drilling 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 is currently being finalized and drilling is expected to begin in the spring or summer. The investigation will include the installation of bedrock wells and testing to confirm connections in bedrock fractures.

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.

A public meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 3 at the Beverly Middle School Library, to present several documents being submitted to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). A presentation will be provided at 7:00 p.m. The project team will be available in person with posters beginning at 6:30 p.m. The documents to be presented include:

The first three documents are available on the MassDEP website and there will be a 20-day public comment period for each following the meeting.

Our Commitment

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

© 2022 Varian Medical Systems, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Production of any of the material contained herein in any format or media without the express
written permission of Varian Medical Systems is prohibited.