Nashua residents call for cleanup of hazardous Mohawk Tannery site
Growing group speaks out for waste disposal to boost business, protect health
For immediate release: July 25, 2018
NASHUA, NH—Nashua residents demanded a safe, responsible cleanup of toxic waste at the Mohawk Tannery site during a public meeting with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Wednesday night.
The Mohawk Tannery site contains toxic, cancer-causing waste that poses serious health threats to Nashua and nearby communities. From 1924 to 1984, the Mohawk Tannery dumped waste on-site in lagoons, pits, and drainage basins, contaminating the site with toxics like dioxin and arsenic.
The Tannery site sits near homes, schools and the Nashua River, and is just 3.5 miles upstream of the confluence with the Merrimack River, so on-site hazardous waste jeopardizes the health and environment of Nashua along with other towns down-river.
Nashua residents are calling for a safe, permanent cleanup of the Tannery site, turning it from a health hazard to a source of city pride that will attract new business and protect current and future families.
“We are extremely concerned about the health hazards that the Mohawk Tannery site poses for our city,” said Deborah Wall of the North-East-West (N.E.W.) Nashua Civic Association, a local group working to ensure the safe cleanup of the site. “Revitalizing this site will not only protect our health and our environment, but it will make Nashua more appealing to new business and preserve the health of future generations.”
The N.E.W. Nashua Civic Association is a group of concerned residents who want the Tannery site cleaned up safely and responsibly, including the removal of all toxic waste. The group is gaining support among neighbors who envision a revitalization that would make the city more inviting to business and protect public health and the environment, with over 200 signatures so far on its petition to EPA calling for responsible clean-up.
“Toxic waste should be consolidated at facilities designed to handle toxic waste, not left in a community where a containment breach threatens neighbors and the Nashua River,” said Woody Little, New Hampshire Community Organizer with Community Action Works. “This site is not secure as-is, but that’s no reason to charge forward with half-measures. Nashua families and those downstream need a real clean-up plan, and that means off-site disposal.”
Wearing shirts and buttons that read “No Shortcuts,” over a dozen residents spoke at Wednesday’s meeting, calling on the EPA to safely remove toxic waste from the site and pave the way for healthy development.
“Nashua families have the right to clean water and a healthy community free of toxic chemicals and hazardous sludge,” said Elizabeth Caswell from the N.E.W. Nashua Civic Association. “We are calling on the EPA to responsibly dispose of toxic waste off-site so we can build a better city for our children. If we don’t do clean-up right this time, we could just be back here years later to mop up an even worse mess.”
Community Action Works is a public health and environmental non-profit that for over 30 years has been working side by side with communities to clean up and prevent pollution. For more information, please visit communityactionworks.org.
N.E.W. (North-East-West) Nashua Civic Association is a community organization of Nashua residents who are advocating for the safe and permanent clean up of the Mohawk Tannery Site.
Elizabeth Caswell, N.E.W. Nashua Civic Association
Woody Little, Community Action Works