CLF Sues to Protect Nashua River

Pollution from nearby Fort Devens development endangering local communities

Photo: Doug Kerr (via Flickr)

June 19, 2018 (DEVENS, MA) – Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) has filed a lawsuit against the Devens Enterprise Commission and MassDevelopment for pollution of the Nashua River and waters draining the former Fort Devens Army base. The lawsuit claims that the site is discharging harmful pollutants into the waters in violation of the federal Clean Water Act.

The agencies neglected to obtain – or even apply for – the legally required stormwater discharge permit under the federal Clean Water Act in their redevelopment of the site. In a New Hampshire case, a judge found that a similar lawsuit related to the redevelopment of the former Pease Air Force base could proceed.

“These developers have failed to comply with water pollution control programs as they have rolled out the largest development plan ever conceived in Massachusetts,” said Christopher Kilian, Vice President of Strategic Litigation at CLF. “The discharge of harmful pollutants from this site is degrading the Nashua River and putting the health and safety of nearby residents at risk. The owners of the site have ignored the law, and it’s time they are held accountable.”

Among the hazardous chemicals discharged from the development are perfluorooctanoic acid (“PFOA”) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (“PFOS”), two pollutants that are extremely dangerous for pregnant women and newborns. Other pollutants include petroleum hydrocarbons, nitrogen, and metals (including zinc).

A copy of the lawsuit can be found here.

CLF experts are available for further comment.