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Comprehensive Cleanup Plan Proposed for Durham Meadows Superfund Site - 30-day public comment period begins July 13, Public meeting held Tues. July 12

Release Date: 07/07/2005
Contact Information:

Contact: Jim Murphy (, EPA Community Affairs, 617-918-1028

For Immediate Release: July 7, 2005; Release # jm050701

BOSTON - A $12.8 million comprehensive plan for completing the cleanup of the Durham Meadows Superfund Site will be proposed by EPA next week. The cleanup plan includes the Durham Manufacturing Co. property, as well as the property formerly occupied by the Merriam Manufacturing Co. facility, both located on Main Street in Durham, Conn.

The proposed cleanup plan addresses soil contamination at both the Durham Manufacturing and the former Merriam site, and ground water contamination along Main Street in the vicinity of the two facilities.

A 30-day public comment period will begin July 13, ending on Aug. 12 to allow public participation in the selection of the final cleanup plan.

The proposed cleanup plan includes the following components:

    • Excavation and off-site disposal of soil at and adjacent to the Merriam Manufacturing Company property in conjunction with soil vapor extraction at Merriam to address contamination in soil and vapor.
    • Excavation and off-site disposal of soil at the Durham Manufacturing Company property to address contamination in shallow ground water and its source.
    • Connection to the Middletown Water Distribution System to provide an alternative source of public water to all residences currently affected by ground water contamination and additional residences located near the contaminated area.
    • Monitor the overall area of ground water contamination to ensure no migration of ground water beyond its current general boundary, along with a contingency to implement a ground water extraction system for hydraulic containment if the contamination continues to spread.
    • Implementation of a waiver of federal and state requirements that would normally require cleanup of the ground water to meet drinking water standards, since it is not technically practicable to clean up the ground water to drinking water standards in a reasonable amount of time.
    • Institutional controls, such as by-laws, deed restrictions, or some other mechanism, that would prevent unrestricted future use of certain areas of the site or use of contaminated ground water.
    • Further characterization of areas posing potential indoor air risks. If there are unacceptable risks, further actions will be taken to address such risks.
A public meeting will be held on Tues. July 12 at 7:00 p.m. at the Coginchaug Regional High School auditorium (135 Pickett Lane in Durham), to present information and answer questions from the community about the proposed cleanup plan. Also, a public hearing will be held on Thurs. July 28 at 7:00 p.m. at the Durham Public Library (7 Maple Avenue), to accept comments on the proposal. EPA will consider and respond in writing to all comments received on the cleanup proposal during this public comment period. EPA expects to issue a final cleanup decision this September.

The Durham Meadows Superfund site consists of ground water contamination generally centered on Main Street in Durham and industrial and residential properties in the area. Investigations at the Durham Meadows site have focused on several possible sources in the area of contamination and include, but are not limited to, the former location of the Merriam Manufacturing Company and the Durham Manufacturing Company, both of which are located on Main Street.

The Merriam Manufacturing Company was established in 1851 and manufactured metal displays and boxes. Wastewater containing dissolved organic solvents and paint wastes were disposed of in lagoons from 1973 to 1982. In another area, paint wastes and degreasing solvents were stored on the ground in drums. Most of Merriam Manufacturing Company's facilities burned in 1998, and the company has relocated its operations.

The Durham Manufacturing Company was established in 1922 and manufactured metal boxes. Wastewater and waste sludge was disposed of in sludge drying beds, and wastes have also been stored on that site in drums.

Wastewater and sludges from manufacturing processes at the site contain paint waste and organic solvents. In 1982, the State Department of Environmental Protection detected volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including methylene chloride, in private wells in the Durham area. Drinking contaminated ground water may threaten the health of nearby residents; however, the provision of bottled water and installation of carbon filters on wells have decreased the threat of exposure to contaminated water. Environmental investigations into the ground water contamination have been ongoing since 1982.

The Draft Final Remedial Investigation, Feasibility Study, and Technical Impracticability Evaluation Reports are all currently available for review on compact disc at the Durham Public Library. The Administrative Record, which includes all documents that form the basis for EPA's selection of the preferred cleanup alternative, will be available for review beginning July 13, 2005 at the Durham Public Library, 7 Maple Avenue in Durham, and at the U.S. EPA Records Center, 1 Congress Street in Boston. The index for the Administrative Record will be available July 13 on EPA's website at:

Comments on the proposed cleanup plan (postmarked no later than Aug. 12, 2005) can be mailed to: Anni Loughlin (HBT), Remedial Project Manager, One Congress Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02114; sent via fax to (617) 918-1291; or by e-mail to Comments may also be provided verbally at the public hearing on July 28.

Related Information:
Durham Meadows
Site Fact Sheet

Superfund in New England
Ground Water