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EPA and DEP to Host Office Hours on Holtrachem Site

Release Date: 06/15/2001
Contact Information: Mark Merchant, EPA Press Office, 617-918-1013 Lucy Edmondson, EPA Regional Administrator's Office, 617-918-1004 Deborah Garrett, Maine DEP Press Office, 207-287-7830

BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection will hold an open house for residents and others interested in cleanup issues on the HoltraChem manufacturing plant on June 26 from 1:30 to 4:30 pm in the Orrington Town Hall, 29 Center Drive, Orrington. If anyone has questions regarding the site this will be a good opportunity to stop by and ask the EPA and DEP in a more informal setting.

The Holtrachem manufacturing company opened in 1967 and manufactured chlorine, caustic soda, and chlorine bleach used by paper mills, as well as hydrochloric acid and the pesticide chloropicrin. The plant closed down in September 2000.

An investigation of the HoltraChem plant determined that mercury, chloropicrin, carbon tetrachloride, and chloroform were several of the contaminants onsite. In addition mercury contaminated brine sludge was buried on site in five hazardous waste landfills. The most frequently spilled chemical at the site was mercury containing brine, a hazardous waste when spilled. Contamination from the site has entered the Penobscot River and mercury contamination is in the sediment adjacent to and downstream from the site.

EPA and Maine DEP are developing cleanup goals for the HoltraChem plant and the river. The open house will give interested stakeholders a chance to ask EPA and DEP officials questions about the contamination and preliminary plans to clean it up.

DEP and EPA will host a second evening public meeting later this summer to answer questions raised in the first public meeting and to generally update the public.