Cleanup at GE site winding down

May 18, 2017 by

Published in the May 18, 2017 edition


NORTH READING – The years-long effort to clean up the site of a former General Electric facility in town is now in its final stages, with no active to risk to residents, the team handling the project reported last Thursday at town hall.

During the meeting, Lockheed’s project team provided a handful of residents with an update on recent and past cleanup activities at the site, as well as historical background and a look at the plan for the site moving forward.

Liability for the environmental cleanup remains in the hands of Lockheed Martin as a result of a past sale of the land. The property is currently owned by Wilmington Realty Trust.

The site itself, at 50 Fordham Road on the Wilmington/North Reading line, was used by General Electric for its Aerospace Instruments Control Systems Department from 1970 until 1989, with Lockheed acquiring the site in 1993. Underground storage tanks at the site were removed starting in 1986, the same year that contaminants were found nearby in the Stickney Well public water supply area. The contamination consisted primarily of oil and chlorinated solvents.

Site cleanup work has continued into this decade, Lockheed drilled a number of monitoring wells around the site in 2014 with an eye on assessing the extent and potential movement of any remaining contaminants, and the property is in use today as an office park.

Lockheed has reportedly provided documents to the state recently outlining the final stages of the cleanup plan, considered a temporary solution at this point because current technology does not allow for the complete removal of residual amounts that made their way into the bedrock below. The Stickney Well is not expected to be used for drinking water any time in the foreseeable future, but otherwise, the site poses no public health risk, Lockheed project manager Paul Calligan told the Transcript before the presentation. The company is expected to check the site at least every five years for further signs of risk or anything unexpected.

More information about the project and its progress can be found at

Along with last week’s meeting, a public comment period for the plan remains underway until May 31. Comments can be sent to Daniel Folan at or by mail at AECOM, 250 Apollo Drive, Chelmsford, MA 01824.

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