BEDFORD -- Officials reiterated Wednesday afternoon initial concerns for environmental threats to Bedford's water supply and the local Shawsheen River have subsided following the fatal plane crash at Hanscom Field.
Bedford Town Manager Richard T. Reed, Police Chief Robert Bongiorno, Fire Chief David Grunes and Director of Public Works Roy Sorenson say they are "confident" the effects on the Shawsheen River from the crash are "not significant." They say threats of contamination have been mitigated.
"(The effects) will not impact the health of the river," Sorenson said in a press release. "While there is much work left to do, we are confident in our quick actions after the crash, and we are very grateful to Clean Harbors for the work that they do."
The Bedford Fire Department put oil and fuel absorbing booms in the Shawsheen River within one hour following Saturday's plane crash at about 9:40 p.m. The incident killed seven people on board a Gulfstream IV aircraft. Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board continue to work to determine what caused the crash. A representative of NTSB in Washington D.C. said the next update from the team of 15 investigators will be released next week when a preliminary report emerges.
The Shawsheen Wellfield in Bedford was shut down immediately after the incident. Those two actions were instrumental in preventing any widespread contamination, town officials said Wednesday.
The environmental clean-up firm Clean Harbors arrived in town Saturday night and began to evaluate the Shawsheen River. The group put two pump trucks at different spots along the river to help with cleanup and testing of the water. The company, working with the Bedford Fire and Public Works departments, placed additional, larger booms in the water to soak up any other contaminants.
Officials says the Shawsheen Wellfield will remain offline until the airplane removal and area cleanup are completed and tests verify safe drinking water levels are present, town representatives said. The NTSB said they will be on site working to excavate pieces from the site of the crash through the end of the week. They'll send out pieces of the plane for further analysis.
The vast majority of the town's water supply comes from the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority system, which was not affected by the crash.
Media mogul and philanthropist Lewis Katz was on board the flight, traveling with his friends Susan Asbell, of Cherry Hill, N.J., Marcella Dalsey, of Williamstown, N.J., and Anne Leeds, of Longport, N.J. to Atlantic City after attending an education fundraiser event at the Concord home of author Doris Kearns Goodwin.
The pilot has been identified as James McDowell, of Georgetown, Del., with his first-in-command Bauke "Mike" de Vries, of Marlton, N.J. The flight attendant was Teresa Benhoff, of Easton, M.D.
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