natick laboratory army research, development, and engineering center


The Natick Laboratory Army Research, Development, and Engineering Center (Natick Laboratory) is a 78-acre facility located in Natick, Massachusetts. The Army is the Lead Agency in charge of the clean-up [(508) 233-5550]. The Natick Laboratory occupies a peninsula on the eastern shore of Lake Cochituate state park and recreational area and is bordered on the north and west by a residential area. The site was purchased by the Army in 1949 from the Metropolitan District Commission. At the time of purchase the property was primarily used as a forested recreational area, but it also included a gravel pit in a section of the site now known as the Building T-25 Area. The Army built the Natick Laboratory in 1954 and has since used the area for industrial, laboratory, and storage activities for research and development in the areas of food science, aero-mechanical, clothing, material, and equipment engineering. During its operation, the Army used a variety of substances including the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) tetrachloroethene, trichloroethene, carbon disulfide, benzene, chloroform, and acetone; "standard laboratory chemicals;" mineral spirits/turpentine; paints; inks; lubricants; gasoline; tetraethyl lead, a gasoline additive; pesticides; and metal dusts. In addition, radioactive materials and chemical agents were used for food irradiation, tracer studies and clothing absorption tests, respectively. In 1989, personnel at the facility noticed a sheen on the site runoff water generated during rainstorms. Construction workers also noticed a benzene-like odor in soil near a boring that was drilled for the construction of a gymnasium on site. The Army conducted soil gas surveys in the Building T-25 and Gymnasium Areas and detected several types of VOCs. In addition, soil, groundwater, and surface water samples revealed elevated levels of VOCs and a variety of heavy metals, such as barium, arsenic, copper, chromium, lead, and zinc. Other potential sources of contamination have been identified near the laboratory. Petroleum, organic compounds, and chlorinated solvents have been discovered in soil and groundwater on a property previously used as a laundromat, which is located approximately 3,600 feet from the Army's Facility. Several other potential sources of groundwater contamination, including automotive garages and other laundromats, have been identified. The Springvale municipal well field is located 2500 feet northwest of the facility and may be threatened by the contaminated groundwater. About 37,000 people obtain their drinking water from wells within 4 miles of the site. The Army has upgraded their treatment system to more fully contain contaminated ground water on the facility.

Hazardous Ranking Score

50 / 100

A score of 28.5 or higher qualifies a site for the Superfund National Priority List.

Regional Contact

Region 1
Phone: (888) 372-7341
Fax: (617) 918-0101

Outside New England:
(617) 918-1111

Contact Region



Site Inspection
Preliminary Assessment
Final Listing On NPL

Contaminants & Health Effects

      Endocrine Disrupter
      Reproductive Toxin
      Persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic


        African American
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        People living
        within a 1 mile radius


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        Occupied homes

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