May 26, 2019

Study: BIW dump no longer hazardous

BATH — A dump where Bath Iron Works once disposed of hazardous wastes is no longer a health threat, according to a federal study.

The report, which will be formally released Friday, was prepared by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Unless new information disputes the health impact of the dump, the agency’s investigation will be considered completed, said Louis House, who works for the federal agency.

The shipyard began using the privately owned Dauphin Dump in the mid-1960s to deposit paints, oils and other chemicals.

It was ordered closed by the state in 1984. The shipyard ended up buying 17 homes that belonged to people in a neighborhood adjacent to the dump after tests detected toxic waste in wells.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry began its review four years ago at the request of a physician who treated a boy with diabetes insipidus who lived near the Tarbox Hill dump. The disease can be linked to exposure to lithium, one of the materials thought to have been dumped by the shipyard.

“The site was being remediated. It’s closed, and it’s not considered active any more. All the data we looked at for the site concluded it wasn’t a public health matter,” House said.

Other studies also have shown there is no problem. Water and soil tests conducted six years ago by the state Department of Environmental Protection, the shipyard and a privately owned laboratory also had shown no signs of contamination.

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