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Superfund Program Implements the Recovery Act

Silresim Chemical Corporation

Lowell, Massachusetts

Site Description
The 4.5-acre Silresim Chemical Corporation site is in an industrial area approximately one mile south of the central business district of Lowell, MA.  Starting in 1971, Silresim began reclaiming a variety of chemical wastes, waste oil, solvents, and sludges.  In 1977, Silresim declared bankruptcy and abandoned the property, leaving behind 30,000 deteriorating drums and several large storage tanks.  Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semi-volatile organic compounds, pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and heavy metals contaminate the site's ground water, which ultimately drains into the Merrimack River. Semi-volatile organic compounds, VOCs, pesticides, PCBs and low levels of dioxin contaminate the soil. Soil and ground water contamination extend to other nearby properties.

Cleanup Activities to Date
EPA listed the site on the National Priorities List in 1983.  Initial actions to fence the site and cap areas of contamination have reduced the chance for accidental exposure and further movement of contamination from the site. These actions have eliminated the immediate threats posed by the site while final cleanup activities are underway.  In 1991, EPA selected the long-term cleanup approach, which features: ground water treatment, reducing VOC contamination in soils, consolidation of off-site contaminated soil and construction of a cap.  EPA constructed an on-site ground water treatment facility to address ground water underneath the site.  Operating since 1995, the facility has treated nearly 100 million gallons of ground water and removed 90 tons of VOCs.  Soils contaminated with VOCs are being addressed through soil-vapor extraction (SVE).  Soil consolidation and partial construction of an on-site cap have been completed.

Recovery Act Project Activity
EPA will use the $14 million in Recovery Act funds to achieve a site-wide construction completion for the Silresim site. The specific activities EPA will conduct with these funds include cleaning up contaminated soil using thermally-enhanced SVE, which involves heating 67,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil over an approximately 1.25-acre area, and removing and treating the contaminated vapor from these soils. EPA will also complete construction of the final cover on the Silresim property, which will make a portion of the site ready for potential future reuse.

FY2011 highlights include:

  • In October 2010, EPA completed the construction of the final cap.
  • Physical construction of the Electrical Resistive Heating (ERH) system was complete in July 2011. The ERH system consists of more than 200 heater electrodes (in 134 locations), 125 vapor and groundwater extraction wells, vapor-liquid treatment process equipment, and a thermal oxidizer.
  • On August 2, EPA prepared and signed a Preliminary Close Out Report (PCOR) documenting remedy construction is complete.
  • EPA hosted a Press Event, along with Congresswoman Niki Tsonga, on August 15, 2011.

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