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NPL Site Narrative for Durham Meadows

Durham, Connecticut

Federal Register Notice:  October 04, 1989

Conditions at proposal (June 24, 1988): The Durham Meadows Site is in the southern Connecticut town of Durham in Middlesex County. Investigation of the site centers around Merriam Manufacturing Co., which occupies 5 acres on Main Street in Durham. The company was established in 1851 and manufactures metal products such as filing equipment, steel security-bank and safe deposit boxes, tool boxes, and fishing tackle boxes. The manufacturing process generates waste water containing dissolved organic solvents, including trichloroethylene, methylene chloride, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, and 1,1,2,2-tetrachloroethylene, as well as paint waste.

The company disposed of waste water and sludges on its property in two unlined and undiked lagoons constructed in 1973. Prior to 1973, waste apparently was disposed of in the septic system, according to the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (CT DEP). In another area, paint wastes and degreasing solvents were stored in 55-gallon drums on the ground. Some were in poor condition or leaking during a CT DEP inspection in 1981. The company stopped using the lagoons in 1982 and removed the drums in 1983.

In 1982, CT DEP detected volatile organic solvents, including trichloroethylene, 1,1,2,2-tetrachloroethylene, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, and methylene chloride in private wells in the Durham area. Such wells are the sole source of drinking water for the 5,600 residents of Durham. CT DEP ordered Merriam Manufacturing to supply bottled water to residents in the vicinity of the site. Approximately 60 residents have been using bottled water since 1983.

On January 4, 1983, following an inspection by EPA and CT DEP, EPA issued an Administrative Compliance Order and Assessment of Penalties under Section 3008 of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The action called for Merriam Manufacturing to correct several violations of State Hazardous Waste Management Regulations. In response, the company removed drums containing hazardous waste to a facility regulated under RCRA Subtitle C.

The site is less than 0.5 mile from the Coginchaug River, which eventually drains into the Connecticut River. A fresh water wetland is within 1,500 feet of the site.

EPA is searching for other possible sources of contamination.

Status (October 4, 1989): EPA emergency staff is sampling the site to determine if a removal action is warranted at this time.

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.

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