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Release Date: 03/14/2000
Contact Information: Alice Kaufman, EPA Community Affairs Office, (617) 918-1064

BOSTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this week completed a $550,000 hazardous waste cleanup at the Mallory Hat Factory site in Danbury, Connecticut.

During the five month cleanup EPA took down an unstable, 110-foot brick smokestack, removed approximately 4000 cubic yards of non-hazardous debris to reduce fire hazards in the abandoned factory buildings, and removed another 700 cubic yards of asbestos-containing building debris. Sampling results indicated that soils and trench materials on-site do not pose an immediate threat to public health.

"The cleanup work EPA did paves the way for a planned commercial revitalization of the property," said EPA Acting Regional Administrator Mindy S. Lubber. "This has been an impressive example of how environmental problems can be solved creatively when the resources of the local, state, and federal levels are pooled together."

"I am grateful to EPA for their investment in this Brownfields effort. It represents a return of federal tax dollars to our community," remarked Mayor Gene F. Eriquez. "Now we will begin the demolition and work to return this property to a productive use on our tax rolls, growing jobs, and sustaining our local economy."

"We have taken a piece of land that was once an environmental and economic burden on the City of Danbury and turned it into a new and safe property that will spur financial growth, produce tax dollars, and create new jobs for area residents," said Congressman Jim Maloney. "I am proud to have brought the City of Danbury and the Environmental Protection Agency together to cleanup the Mallory Hat Factory and renew this central Danbury neighborhood," Maloney concluded.

"I would like to extend my thanks and appreciation to Mayor Gene Eriquez, who provided essential resources throughout the cleanup project," remarked EPA On-Scene Coordinator Mary Ellen Stanton. "It was a great pleasure to work with the city of Danbury, and I wish them much luck as they continue their revitalization project at the Mallory Hat Factory site."

Last summer, the city used a $200,000 EPA Brownfields grant to inspect the site, revealing hazardous site conditions that prompted the city to ask EPA for further assistance. Brownfields are abandoned, idled or underused industrial and commercial properties where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by pollution. EPA's Brownfields grants are directed to the identification and assessment of these sites for development.

The 5-acre Mallory Hat Factory Site was originally owned by E. A. Mallory Company to manufacture hats with fur pelts. The company started up in 1860, and ended operations in 1969, when the factory was sold to the Danbury Hat Company. In 1987, the Danbury Hat Company filed for bankruptcy, which effectively ended hat manufacturing activity on-site.