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Release Date: 01/23/1998
Contact Information: Alice Kaufman, Press Office (617) 918-1064

BOSTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced completion of a cleanup at the Somers Industrial Finishing Superfund Site in Somers, Connecticut.

The EPA, removed 114 tons of soils heavily contaminated with cadmium and other heavy metals from a lagoon on the property used to store wastewater from Somers' metal plating and finishing business. The cleanup alleviates health risks posed to children and others who come in contact with the soils by entering the abandoned site and significantly reduces the risk of contaminants migrating to the groundwater in the future. Sampling of groundwater beneath the lagoons found low levels of contaminants that leached through the soils. However, analysis of samples taken from residential private wells near the site showed no contamination.

"It's been a real team effort with the Connecticut DEP and the town of Somers joining in the cleanup effort," said John P. DeVillars, EPA regional administrator. "Families in the neighborhood of the site can rest assured that the contaminated lagoon soils that once posed a threat to groundwater, have been dug out and safely disposed of."

"Only a short time ago, this site posed a threat to the community and the environment," said Arthur J. Rocque, Jr., DEP commissioner. "Thanks to the cooperation between the department, EPA and town, today the site is much safer and cleaner and the possibility of redevelopment now exists."

EPA excavated and disposed of the heavily contaminated soils and approximately 12 containers of abandoned lab chemicals. Another 2150 cubic yards of lesser contaminated soil was excavated and treated with iron sulfate to stabilize the remaining metals. The chemically stabilized soil was then used to refill the excavated hole.

In addition to the soil treatment, EPA placed an impermeable synthetic liner, covered with stone and clean topsoil, over the former lagoon to further reduce the risk that trespassers would come in contact with the area and to significantly reduce the risk that any remaining contamination would migrate to groundwater.

"The town of Somers, Water Pollution Control Authority and Board of Selectmen wishes to thank Frank Gardner and the rest of the EPA team, and the Connecticut DEP for their actions and their cooperation in the clean up of this public health threat," said Steve Jacobs, town of Somers sanitarian.

The Somers Industrial Finishing Corporation operated a metal plating and finishing operation at the site from 1972 to 1984, and used cadmium, chromium, nickel, and zinc in its electroplating operations. The abandoned site is comprised of a 10,000 square foot building and the capped half-acre former wastewater lagoon.