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Release Date: 10/06/1999
Contact Information: Alice Kaufman, EPA Press Office (617) 918-1064

BOSTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold a public information session tonight, Wednesday, Oct. 6, 1999, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Danbury City Hall, to discuss cleanup plans for the Mallory Hat Factory site in Danbury, Conn. EPA allocated about $2 million to remove asbestos and other hazardous substances from the site. EPA expects work to begin later this month.

Using a $200,000 EPA Brownfields grant, the city of Danbury inspected the site and found a dilapidated brick smokestack, friable asbestos in the building, and sludge trenches in the building that are contaminated with heavy metals such as arsenic, mercury and lead. The Still River that flows directly beneath the main building. These findings prompted the city to ask EPA for assistance in cleaning up the site.

EPA also conducted an investigation of the facility before allocating cleanup funds. As part of the cleanup, EPA will take down the smokestack, remove asbestos from inside the factory buildings, and remove and properly dispose of hazardous substances found in tanks and trenches, as well as in soils on the factory property.

"EPA's cleanup of the old Mallory Hat Factory will send the city down the home stretch toward redeveloping this site for economic re-use. We will continue to work closely with the city throughout the cleanup operations," said John P. DeVillars, EPA's New England administrator.

"The City of Danbury is pleased that our partnership with the EPA and our joint commitment to the health and safety of our community has facilitated this most important step toward the demolition of the former Mallory Hat factory buildings," said Mayor Gene F. Eriquez. "The demolition of the Mallory chimney will remove the immediate hazard that this unsafe structure places on our residents in this area. The safe removal of asbestos and asbestos-contaminated debris by the end of 1999 will facilitate the demolition of all the structures and allow us to clean up the soil and groundwater so that the property can be transferred back on to the tax rolls and returned to a productive re-use."

"I am delighted by the quick action of the Environmental Protection Agency. This cleanup is urgently needed as a matter of public safety, but will also have a very favorable long term pay off for the economic well being of downtown Danbury," said Congressman Jim Maloney (CT-05).

EPA's Brownfields program is part of a national commitment to revitalize abandoned sites where redevelopment has been slowed because of contamination on the property. The city's review of the site for potential Brownfields re-use was temporarily put on hold due to the hazardous conditions of the buildings and property. Once EPA's cleanup work is complete, the city will move forward with further evaluations of re-use options.

The 5-acre Mallory Hat Factory Site, originally owned by the E. A. Mallory Company, manufactured hats with fur pelts. The company operated from 1860 to1969, when it was sold to the Danbury Hat Company. In 1987, the Danbury Hat Company filed for bankruptcy.