NPL Site Narrative for Leeds Metal
The 36-acre Leeds Metal site is located in a mixed residential and industrial area in the southeastern Maine community of Leeds. The site is bounded to the north by a former concrete manufacturing facility, a sand and gravel operation and by Blue Rock Road; to the east by the Rumford Branch of Pan Am Railways; to the south by wetlands and residential properties; and to the west by Route 106.
Operations at the Leeds Metal site date back to the mid-to late 1800s, however little is known about specific site activities prior to 1969. Between 1969-1984 scrap metal recovery processes took place, performed by a series of site operators. Junk automobiles were shredded onsite, where non-recyclable material, known as auto fluff, was stockpiled. Gasoline and other fluids from junk cars were dumped directly onto the ground, and as many as 100 drums were staged along the tree line in the southern part of the site. The Leeds Fire Department has responded to numerous fires at the site. The site is currently inactive and unoccupied, and appears to have remained abandoned since operations ceased in 1984.
The approximately 40,000 cubic yards of auto fluff waste present at the site are fully exposed and uncontained. Another source of contamination, the former Operations Area, has no fence or other containment features designed to limit access or exposure to site wastes. Hazardous substances include polychorinated biphenyls (PCBs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), tetrachloroethene (PCE), trichloroethene (TCE), and metals (arsenic, cadmium, chromium and lead). A groundwater plume of VOCs is documented onsite and has extended southward, contaminating seven drinking water supply wells at concentrations exceeding health-based benchmark levels.
Potential Impacts on Surrounding Community/Environment:
Seven private drinking water supply wells serving 17 residents have been contaminated by VOCs (PCE and TCE) from the site at concentrations exceeding health-based benchmark levels. There are no public drinking water supply wells in Leeds. Metals associated with site operations have also contaminated wetlands onsite.
Response Activities (to date):
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (MDEP) has removed drummed waste and an abandoned transformer; sampled soil; sampled nearby private drinking water wells to identify possible off-site migration of wastes; overseen a series of investigations to assess the site and groundwater in the area; and installed carbon filtration devices at five homes with VOC contamination exceeding state health benchmark levels. EPA completed removal and remedial investigations in 2010 that documented the need for response actions to address imminent hazards posed by the uncontrolled site wastes. A Superfund removal action to limit access to site wastes is planned for 2012.
Need for NPL Listing:
The site property owner is unwilling to perform additional site characterization or undertake response actions to address contamination. Other federal and state cleanup programs were evaluated, but are not viable at this time. The EPA received a letter of support for placing this site on the NPL from the state.
[The description of the site (release) is based on information available at the time the site was evaluated with the HRS. The description may change as additional information is gathered on the sources and extent of contamination. See 56 FR 5600, February 11, 1991, or subsequent FR notices.]
For more information about the hazardous substances identified in this narrative summary, including general information regarding the effects of exposure to these substances on human health, please see the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) ToxFAQs. ATSDR ToxFAQs can be found on the Internet at ATSDR - ToxFAQs (http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/index.asp) or by telephone at 1-888-42-ATSDR or 1-888-422-8737.