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Release Date: 05/24/2000
Contact Information: Alice Kaufman, EPA Community Affairs Office, (617) 918-1064

BOSTON - The New England office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized an agreement with Zeneca, Inc. that become effective today to complete cleanup work at the St. Germain Drum Site in Taunton, Massachusetts.

Under a consent agreement called an Administrative Order on Consent (AOC), Zeneca, Inc. will hire a qualified contractor to excavate buried drums on the St. Germain Drum Site property that contain chemicals, and properly dispose of them at a licensed facility. EPA will supervise the work to ensure that hazardous materials are handled, transported, and disposed of properly. Using evidence gathered during excavation, EPA will also seek to recover from Zeneca Inc. the $777,000 spent on the initial cleanup operations. EPA expects the cleanup to begin within the next several weeks.

"I am pleased that Zeneca, Inc. has chosen to take on the remainder of this cleanup," said Mindy S. Lubber, EPA New England's Administrator. "EPA will see this cleanup through to completion, leaving the community safer for families and businesses nearby."

Since December 20, 1999, EPA has excavated, sampled, and transported to licensed disposal facilities 732 deteriorated drums containing volatile organic chemicals, such as toluene, acetone, chlorobenzene, naphthalene, and 1,2,4 trichlorobenzene.

From the 1950s to the 1970s, St. Germain and Son, a waste hauling business owned and operated by David W. St. Germain, Jr., transported and disposed of drums of hazardous substances. St. Germain and Son also removed and disposed of drums of hazardous substances from the ICI Americas, Inc. a facility located in Dighton, Massachusetts.

For at least 35 years, Mr. St. Germain buried the drums in excavated ditches at the Site. The drums were eventually covered with soil, or used as fill in low spots at the Site, and later covered with soil.

ICI manufactured dyestuffs and other proprietary products, including Halothane, antioxidants, tire cord adhesives, fire fighting chemicals, concrete superplasticizers, and other specialty chemicals. In December 1992, ICI changed its name to Zeneca, Inc., and in 1993 began to phase down the Dighton facility.

The St. Germain Drum Site is approximately 6 acres of flat land, generally free of trees and brush. An unnamed brook bisects the property and drains into the Three Mile River approximately 1,000 feet to the north.