My Turn: Concerns for residents of the Lunt property

  • Buildings that were once the Lunt Silversmiths manufacturing plant off Federal Street in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Published: 1/24/2022 8:49:43 AM
Modified: 1/24/2022 8:48:26 AM

I am not an abutter of the Lunt property but have been aware of the abutters’ concerns since 2012, as mentioned in Susan Worgaftik’s Jan. 19 letter as well as concerns for those now living on the property and who are involved in a substance abuse treatment program.

For some unexplained reason, this venture was licensed as commercial industrial instead of residential, even though residents and support staff live there full-time. This needs to be rectified. The levels of contaminants that are allowed in a commercial industrial property are higher than those allowed in a residential facility. Yet the levels of Trichloroethylene (TCE) measured at this site were higher in concentration than those allowed for a residential facility when residents moved into the buildings they occupy in 2016. How was this allowed to happen?

A vapor intrusion system proposed in 2012 to deal with the TCE inside the buildings was never installed. This was also ordered by the state Department of Environmental Protection in 2017, yet still was never activated. An EPA report in September 2018 stated site contaminants were affecting indoor air. TCE is a concern for groundwater and indoor air, as it can rise up from the soil and get in buildings.

I am very aware of how issues with air quality can affect one’s health as I am chemically sensitive and dealt with health issues as a result of exposure to substances in the environment that made me sick.

Residents recovering from substance abuse are in a very vulnerable position and poor air quality can have an adverse effect on their health. I am concerned that the residents may not even be aware there are TCE vapors in the indoor air and that it is unlikely they have consented to being exposed to a known carcinogen. Have the staff been informed? And if so, have they shared their concerns with the residents?

This situation needs to be addressed and steps taken to insure residents are safe and not at risk because of these contaminants. An active mitigation system needs to be installed. I would suggest the Board of Health order immediate installation of the fan that would enable this to happen and then to retest the indoor air quality for TCE vapor intrusion, as this should make a difference in the air quality.

Dorothy McIver lives in Greenfield.


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