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EPA Enters into Final Site Cleanup Agreement with Massachusetts Company

Release Date: 05/24/04
Contact Information: Contact: Alice Kaufman, EPA Community Involvement Office, (617) 918-1064

For Immediate Release: 5/24/04; Release # 04-05-20

Boston - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Zeneca Inc. have entered into a Consent Order under which Zeneca will complete site investigations and cleanup of its closed facility in Dighton, Massachusetts, readying some of the developed portions of the 25-acre site on Main Street for future commercial use.

After Zeneca decided to close its Dighton plant in 1994, the company began working under a voluntary corrective action agreement with EPA to study the site for areas of environmental contamination in need of cleanup. Considerable work has occurred to cleanup the site so far, including demolition of some of the buildings, environmental studies of Muddy Cove, contaminated soil excavation and removal, cleanup of the former service station on Rte. 138, and cleanup and restoration of Muddy Cove Brook.

“Zeneca is working in the public interest in identifying areas of potential contamination and cleaning those portions of the site that require it,” said Robert W. Varney, EPA New England’s regional administrator. “This site, once cleanup is complete, has the potential to be a real community asset. Future commercial redevelopment and reuse of the property will add to the local economy.”

According to the provisions of today’s order, Zeneca is to complete the final phase of groundwater, soil, surface water, and sediment investigations. The order identifies five specific areas for further investigation and potential cleanup: the Encapsulated Lagoon and Former Gas Station; Muddy Cove; Former Manufacturing Area North of Muddy Cove Brook; Former Manufacturing Area South of Muddy Cove Brook; and Muddy Cove Brook. Once the studies are complete and the cleanup remedies proposed, Zeneca will seek public input and EPA approval before moving forward. Zeneca has also agreed to provide community residents with status reports of their findings and to hear their concerns.

Zeneca is operating under the federal law that governs companies’ handling of hazardous wastes, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

Since 1861, a number of businesses have operated at the site and either used or manufactured chemicals for common consumer products. Those chemicals included lead oxide, pigments, dyes, Halothane, antioxidants, tire cord adhesives, fire fighting chemicals, and concrete superplasticizers.

For more detailed information about Zeneca’s studies and cleanup activities, a description of the five areas covered by today’s order, and all reports and findings completed to date, visit the Dighton Public Library.

Related Information:
Zeneca Inc. Fact Sheet
Cleanup Process
RCRA Cleanup