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Release Date: 09/30/1999
Contact Information: Alice Kaufman, EPA Community Affairs Office, (617) 918-1064

Boston - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a $5.2 million, cleanup plan for the Shore Road area, a portion of the Raymark Industries, Inc. Superfund Site in Stratford, Connecticut. The cleanup plan, called a non-time-critical removal action, includes a study to determine if the contaminated soils can be effectively treated, followed by a combination of excavation and/or capping.

"While we are moving forward to restrict access to Shore Road to prevent possible public exposure to contamination in the area, we're going back to the drawing board to re-examine soil treatment technologies," said EPA's New England administrator John P. DeVillars. "Today's plan reflects EPA's consideration of the hundreds of comments received on the excavation and capping proposals as well as extensive dialogue with citizens and officials. The decisions we make in Stratford will be done with full and fair public involvement. During the coming months, we will be bringing our investigations at all locations in town onto the same track to better understand each area of contamination, future cleanup activities, and to explain to the community how all the pieces fit together."

The four acre Shore Road area consists of a road, a parking area, and the grounds of a boat club along the Housatonic River that contains approximately 35,000 cubic yards of fill believed to have originated from the manufacturing processes of Raymark Industries, Inc. Both residential and commercial properties are located within or adjacent to the area of contamination.

Based on the results of soil sampling during 1993 and 1994 which documented threats to human health and the environment, the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection capped the area with geotextile and wood chips as a temporary protective measure.

In January 1999, at the request of the town of Stratford, EPA inspected the area and found wood chips missing in several locations and the temporary cap failing due to weather and general use of the area. Hazardous levels of lead, asbestos, PCBs and dioxin were found at or very near the surface including directly beneath the failing asphalt surface of Shore Road. The hazardous substances are currently subject to movement via surface water runoff and air transport and present a potential for human exposure through direct contact, ingestion, and inhalation.

In late January, EPA began an Engineering Evaluation/Cost Analysis to assess various options for controlling and containing the source of the contamination in the soils, groundwater, surface water and sediments of the Housatonic river.

EPA completed an EE/CA report in June 1999 which proposed excavation and storage of contaminated fill, and in response to public comments received in July, developed an addendum that considered capping contamination in place. The public comment period began on July 15, 1999 and ended on September 14 after a four week extension.

EPA received over 1,100 written comments on the EE/CA and the proposed alternatives. The issues that were raised over the excavation alternative included primarily safety concerns such as transportation of contaminated materials through town, on-load and off-load controls to prevent contamination from becoming airborne, safe storage concerns, as well as general traffic and noise issues. Issues raised over the capping alternative included concerns of long term effectiveness and permanence when leaving contaminated materials in a flood plain, concerns of impacts to an environmentally sensitive area along the bank of the Housatonic River, and of access to Shore Road after elevating the area five feet in order to construct a cap.

Because of the public concerns raised, EPA will begin pilot testing to evaluate potential soil treatment technologies before proceeding with some combination of the alternatives originally proposed, excavation and storage or capping. This approach will include excavating and potentially treating contaminated soils, backfilling a portion of the treated soils on-site, and temporarily storing excess treated soils at a location within the town of Stratford until a permanent in-town location is selected. However, if pilot scale testing of soils finds soil treatment to be infeasible and if a suitable location for temporary and permanent storage of excess treated soils cannot be found, the contamination will be capped in place.

This combined alternative addresses the public concerns of leaving contamination in a flood plain, minimizes potential impacts to the environmentally sensitive area along the Housatonic, and addresses safety concerns of transporting untreated contaminated soil through town

EPA will schedule a meeting in late October to further discuss the cleanup plan.