Skip to main content

Ashland - Local Town Pages

Cadilac Paint Property: On Its Way To A Safe Green Space; No Dumping Allowed

By Patricia Roy
It’s been a long haul, but the old Cadilac Paint and Colonial Lacquer & Chemical Company property will soon be looking clean and green. 
The 3-acre parcel at 409 Eliot St., has finally been cleared of its chemical residues and refilled with clean dirt.
The paint and lacquer businesses that operated from the late 1930s through the
mid-1980s were determined by the state Department of Environmental Quality Engineering (DEQE) to be in violation of the hazardous waste regulations. Elevated levels of PCBs and heavy metals were found in the soil.
In 2014, a team of several agencies formed a partnership to assess remediation and development options for the site. The federal Environmental Protection Agency, MassDEP, Mass Development and the town together were able to locate funding to remove contaminated soil and prep the area for future development. 
In 2015, soil excavation began and transported to a permitted disposal facility while clean soil was trucked in.
Eventually, the raw materials and solvents were cleared, including 14 storage tanks and drums. Some 80 55-gallon crushed and empty drums had been buried without authorization on the property.
In 1996, a MassDEP contractor removed 22 drums of manufacturing resins and just three years later drums of resin, residual oil and sludge from an above ground storage tank and four tons of oil contaminated soil were also removed.
The Brownfield site was subjected to over 30 years of soil and water remediation by both state and federal agencies. The town fought for years to have the old buildings removed. When state and federal funds ran out in 2015 and the community voted further funding in 2016, approving $100,000 through the Community Preservation Act that among other things helps to preserve open space and develop outdoor recreational facilities.
In 2017, the town acquired the parcel and has since been at work transforming the site into a park, now that it has been determined to be safe for municipal use.
The land has been cleared and some fencing moved and the property is now on its way to becoming a public park with walking trails and pollinator garden.
About a third of the park is wooded, predominantly by white pines. The rest is open and cleared and awaiting the final touched to become a clean, healthy recreational site.