On behalf of the more than 3,000 members of South Shore REALTORS®, Inc., we urge swift enforcement of all relevant statutes to curb any illegal evaporation of contaminated wastewater from Holtec Decommissioning International, LLC’s (Holtec) work on the former Pilgrim nuclear plant. REALTORS® recognizes the incredible gift that Massachusetts environment offers to our state’s citizens. Furthermore, we understand the importance of the environment to our quality of life and the marketability of surrounding property. As a result, we have concerns about Holtec’s evaporation of 200,000 gallons of wastewater and future implications for the remaining 950,000 gallons.

The Massachusetts Ocean Sanctuary Act is “unique in its charge to protect the "ecology" and "aesthetic" interests as well as water quality.”[1] Specifically, the law prevents “significantly alter[ing] or otherwise endanger[ing] [the] ecology or appearance” of ocean sanctuaries.[2] It protects marine life, water quality, and beaches that are critical for major industries such as fishing, shellfishing, recreation, tourism, and real estate.

Powerplant decommissionings have a track record of presenting housing and environmental challenges. For example, in decommissioning the Zion nuclear power plant in Illinois, locals were confronted with 2.2 million pounds of nuclear waste along the shore of Lake Michigan and decreases in local housing values.[3] The Pilgrim plant has more than eight times that in spent fuel requiring storage and disposal.[4]

REALTORS® on the South Shore have shared that decommissioning and related controversies are already having an impact on their market. Cape Cod Bay and the surrounding area enjoys international acclaim for its natural beauty. It has long been a place near which people want to live and vacation. However, our clients are already expressing concerns about the region due to pollution, negative health impacts, and long-term value loss. The reputational harm to the attractiveness of this area as both a place to call home and a place to vacation will be irreparable if nuclear waste evaporation is permitted.

For the housing market in our region to rebound, consumer confidence must be restored. DEP upholding the sanctity of the Ocean Sanctuary Act is an essential step towards that outcome. As a result, we urge you to prevent large scale evaporation of contaminated wastewater from the Pilgrim nuclear reactor site. Please don’t hesitate to contact Rachel Tristano, CEO, rtristano@southshorerealtors.com, with any questions.