Would contamination delay Wynn Everett casino?

Jan 13, 2014 7:14 PM

While Massachusetts gaming officials have been focusing on the suitability of companies that have applied for a casino license, some observers have been questioning the cost and the timetable needed to rid the Everett site of contamination.

The City of Everett has welcomed Steve Wynn and his Wynn Resorts Ltd. plans for a $1.4 billion casino complex.

The site, sitting across the Mystic River from Boston proper, for years was the location of the Monsanto Chemical Co.

Through those years, say observers, the land absorbed such toxins as petroleum hydrocarbons, PCBs, volatile organic compounds and possibly sulfuric acids.

Wynn executives acknowledge the need for de-contaminating the property and have set aside a $10 million fund to complete the project. And if more is needed, it will be available, said Wynn spokesman Michael Weaver in answer to a query from the Boston Herald.

He estimated the cleanup cost could go to between $20 million and $30 million, but emphasized “no public money will be used to clean up the site. Our filings with the Commonwealth propose a permanent solution to clean up the site.”

Doubting whether the $10 million would be enough was Cynthia Brooks of Boston-based Greenfield Environmental Trust Group. She told the Herald’s Jack Encamacao, “Hazardous waste sites never come in on the price tag. It absolutely could delay things.”

And, the possibility of a major delay while the site is decontaminated will be one of the concerns that will receive substantial review by the gaming regulators.

Wynn’s Everett proposal seeks the one license designated by the Massachusetts legislature for the Boston area. Also applying for the same license is Suffolk Downs and its partner, Mohegan Sun.

Ray Poirier is the longtime executive editor at GamingToday.

Contact Ray at [email protected].

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