The Salem News reported yesterday that more than 21 years ago, Beverly, Massachusetts officials requested that Varian — which was acquired by Siemens Healthineers in a $16.4 billion deal last year — test the bedrock on a part of its former property to assess if it might be a source of the spread of toxic chemicals in the surrounding area. According to that report, Varian said the tests weren’t necessary and did not carry them through.
Last November, after the tests were finally conducted, they reportedly revealed that levels of cancer-causing trichloroethylene came in at 600,000 parts per billion — about double the amount that raises concerns about indoor air for experts, according to The Salem News.
As a result, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection ruled that Varian’s cleanup operation is not working and violates state regulations, meaning Varian has been ordered to design a new plan with a deadline of two years to find a solution. If Varian doesn’t comply, it could face fines, according to the report.
A Varian spokesperson told The Salem News that the cleanup — for which the amount spent was not disclosed — was a long, complex and costly process, but the company disagrees with the MassDEP ruling that the cleanup isn’t working and claims that testing has consistently shown “no significant risk to the neighborhood.”