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EPA Installs Cap at the Black Rock Shipyard Site; Completes cleanup of Hazardous Substances

Release Date: 08/11/1997
Contact Information: Steve Novick, EPA Site Evaluation and Response Section Chief; 617/ 573-9671 Sarah White, EPA Community Relations Coordinator; 617/918-1026

BOSTON -- A cleanup crew with the Environmental Protection Agency, recently installed a protective cap over contaminated soils and removed several dozen containers of hazardous materials from the Black Rock Shipyard in Bridgeport, Conn. to prevent public health threats.

As part of the EPA's two-month $650,000 cleanup, the crew cleared and graded the site, and covered contaminated portions with a cap made of geotechnical fabric covered with 12 inches of clean soil. In addition, the EPA placed filter fabric fencing along the perimeter of the site and seeded the cap to prevent soil erosion and runoff contamination to nearby Burr and Cedar creeks. The crew also shipped off site acids, flammable substances and wastes containing heavy metals, as well as friable asbestos

"In just two months, we cleaned up and capped a potentially hazardous area that could have endangered the public health of Bridgeport residents," said John P. DeVillars, administrator for EPA-New England. "This is the first step in restoring this piece of waterfront property and turning it into a useable parcel."

During the initial investigation in May 1996, EPA officials identified polychlorinated byphenyls (PCBs), lead and chromium in the site soils, determining that contact with contaminated soils at the site posed a direct contact threat to public health. The site posed additional threats from migration of contaminated soil via wind and surface runoff onto neighboring properties as well as adjacent Burr and Cedar creeks, which run into to the Long Island Sound.

Site History:
From 1960 to 1991, the former property owner manufactured steel boats at the site . During 1991 and 1992, the site was used as a recreational boating dry dock. Since 1992, the site has fallen into disrepair and is currently inactive.

The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection referred the property to the EPA for cleanup in May 1996. Preliminary soil sampling by EPA in 1996, confirmed the presence of hazardous substances and hazardous waste in containers.

In November 1996, the EPA proceeded with a cleanup pending the placing of a land use restriction that would require state review of any kind of future work or development on the site. In March, the EPA received a signed access agreement from the site owner's attorney and the following month the owner placed a deed restriction on the property. In June, the EPA began cleaning up the site.