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Industri-Plex Case Study

Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.

Photo of Industri-Plex before redevelopment
Manufacturing plants at Industri-Plex, which contributed to the extensive contamination of the soil and groundwater, were demolished as part of the cleanup.
Photo of Industri-Plex during redevelopment

Cleanup of Industri-Plex included the constuction of several protective covers over portions of the site, allowing the site to be put back into productive use.

Photo of Industri-Plex after redevelopment

A 135,000square foot Target discount store is one of the several redevelopment projects planned for the site.

  • More than 110 acres of soil contaminated with lead, arsenic, and chromium
  • Groundwater beneath portions of site contaminated with benzene, toluene, arsenic, and chromium
  • Demolished on-site buildings
  • Constructed soil, clay, and synthetic layers; concrete foundations; and asphalt to cover contamination
  • Collected and treated gases formed under constructed layers
  • Treated groundwater to reduce contaminants and limit migration
  • Continued to investigate soil and groundwater
  • U.S. EPA
  • Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
  • City of Woburn
  • Dayton-Hudson Corporation
  • Current and former landowners
  • Average of more than 700 short-term jobs per year for two years of redevelopment, with estimated total annual income of $23.6 million
  • As many as 4,300 permanent jobs created by redevelopment
  • Approximately $147 million in annual income associated with permanent jobs, expected to result in almost $118 million in personal spending
Public Revenue
  • More than $13 million in State income and sales tax associated with spending
  • More than $1.5 million in State retail sales taxes annually
Property Value
  • Roughly $4.6 million potential increase in residential property values within two miles of site
  • Compliance of Clean Air Act from reduced air emissions
  • Creation of open space and wetlands preserve
  • Improved access to local retail and commercial establishments
  • Improved traffic and safety conditions
  • Significant expansion of commuter transportation services
Last Updated April 1999

Industri-Plex Site
Woburn, Massachusetts

Soil and groundwater contamination from more than 100 years of chemical manufacturing and processing

Regional transportation center, major retail space, and open space and wetlands

Hundreds of local jobs, increased public revenues, and cleanup of severely blighted area

The Industri-Plex Superfund site, a hazardous waste site, just 12 miles west of Boston, is getting a new look for the new millennium. By the year 2000, a major portion of the 245-acre site will be transformed into a major commercial and retail district, a state/regional transportation center, and wetlands. The contamination of soil and groundwater resulting from over a hundred years of chemical manufacturing and processing will be a distant memory thanks to the hard work of EPA, the State of Massachusetts, and the public and private groups responsible for the redevelopment. What follows is the story of how they worked together to return this property to productive use, and of the economic impacts and social and environmental benefits that will result.

Site Snapshot

The Industri-Plex Superfund site is a 245-acre property in a dense commercial and industrial area alongside the heavily traveled Interstate 1-93 in Woburn, Massachusetts. From 1853 to 1969, a succession of manufacturers produced chemicals, insecticides, munitions, and glue products made from raw and chrome-tanned animal hides. Since 1969, a variety of industrial and commercial establishments have occupied portions of the site and approximately 60 acres are currently used for warehousing and distribution. An estimated 13,000 households lie within two miles of the site.

From Contamination...

In 1980 and 1981, EPA and the State undertook several short-term actions to address immediate threats, including temporarily covering contaminated portions and restricting access. In 1983, EPA added the site to its list of hazardous waste sites needing cleanup. EPA provided federal grant funds to the local community, allowing the community members to become educated about the technical aspects of the cleanup. The cleanup included controlling the sources of contamination and treating highly contaminated groundwater to reduce contaminants and limit migration. In addition, the cleanup plan requires further groundwater and surface-water investigations to identify and evaluate any additional groundwater contamination. EPA is working with the State to ensure the protection of human health and accommodate developers in returning the site to productive use.


...To Major Construction

Because of the size of the Industri-Plex property, three principal public transportation/infrastructure initiatives and two private redevelopment initiatives are planned or underway at the site. State transportation agencies are constructing a Regional Transportation Center, which will accommodate a 36-acre transportation facility, 2,400 parking spaces for commuter train service, Park and Ride bus service, and airport shuttle service into Boston. The construction of a major highway interchange on Interstate 93 will ease severe regional traffic congestion and provide access to the new businesses. Additionally, the main thoroughfare through the site will be improved and extended, providing better access to tracts of land and commercial areas of Woburn. The two proposed private redevelopment initiatives at the site include a 30-acre retail parcel and a 50-acre mixed-use parcel. Dayton-Hudson is scheduled to begin construction of a Target store on the thirty acre site to coincide with the construction of the I-93 interchange. The other parcel is slated to accommodate up to 750,000 square feet of office and hotel space.

Community Benefits

Woburn and several other Boston suburbs are already benefiting from the cleanup of this eyesore. Continued redevelopment efforts at the Industri-Plex site will bring more positive benefits in the future including building and expanding access roads and commuter facilities. Construction of the I-93 Woburn Interchange will alleviate congestion in the area, which has been rated third worst in the State; an estimated 2,400 cars will be removed from the highway. Additionally, a 75-acre portion of the site will likely be designated as open space and as a wetlands preserve. The community will also benefit from the creation of thousands of local jobs and from the commercial and retail operations.

Keys to Success

The many partnerships formed at this site were key to its successful cleanup and planned redevelopment. EPA and the State of Massachusetts originally worked together in 1980 and 1981 to remove the immediate threats at the site. Later, two trusts were created as part of a 1989 settlement between EPA, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, the City of Woburn, and 24 current and former landowners. The Site Remedial Trust is responsible for funding, constructing, and maintaining the EPA-selected remedy and the Site Custodial Trust is responsible for site redevelopment. The Custodial Trust has worked extensively with federal, state, and local officials and the neighboring communities to promote the redevelopment of the Industri-Plex site and its surrounding areas. At the heart of this redevelopment project was the public and private partnership that generated broad support for improvements at the site.

Additionally, EPA entered into prospective purchaser agreements (PPAs) with some project partners. As part of the PPAs, EPA agrees not to hold the signers responsible for pre-existing contamination, in return for financial considerations for the cleanup, restrictions on future activities that could disturb the cover, and EPA's future access to the property.

For more information about the cleanup and redevelopment of the Industri-Plex site, contact:

Joseph LeMay, P.E.
Office of Site Remediation and Restoration
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Region 1
JFK Federal Building (HBO)
Boston, MA 02203
(617) 573-9622

For further information about Prospective Purchaser Agreements, please contact:

Tessa Hendrickson
Office of Site Remediation Enforcement
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Mail Code 2273A
401 M Street, SW
Washington, DC 20460
(202) 564-6052