Environmental Protection Agency
Skip common site navigation and headers
United States Environmental Protection Agency
Waste Site Cleanup & Reuse in New England
  Serving Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont & 9 Tribal Nations
Begin Hierarchical Links EPA Home > EPA New England > Cleanup > Find NE Sites > COMMERCE STREET PLUME End Hierarchical Links


Table of Contents:
 Advanced Search
 Site Type: Long Term/National Priorities List (NPL) Click to see more about Site Type and how it is used?


Map this site in Cleanups in My Community
 Williston,  Vermont
 Chittenden County
 Street Address: Commerce Street
 Zip Code: 05495

 EPA ID #: VTD098352545
 Site ID #: 0101470
 Site Aliases: Mitec

 Site Responsibility: Federal, Potentially Responsible Parties

 Proposed Date 09/23/2004
 Final Date 04/27/2005

Site Description
[Back to Top]

The Commerce Street Plume is located at an industrial park in Williston, Chittenden County, Vermont. The property formerly leased by Mitec Systems Corp. (Mitec), one of the known plume contributors, occupies one acre at 96 Commerce Street and currently includes one 6,000 square foot building. Various manufacturing and electroplating operations occurred on the property since 1960. The two primary sources of contamination on the property are an unlined lagoon and a leach field, which were both created to dispose of liquid waste. Plating rinsewater and sludge wastes containing heavy metals and solvents were disposed of into the unlined lagoon and the leach field intermittently through 1984.

From 1979 to 1986, Mitec leased the property for manufacturing of electronic and microwave components. Between 1979 and 1984, Mitec discharged an undetermined quantity of rinse waters and sludge wastes containing chromium, cadmium, cyanide, nickel, and industrial solvents associated with electroplating operations into the unlined lagoon. After a Mitec employee expressed concern to the Vermont Agency of Environmental Conservation (VT AEC) in March 1982, the State found the company in violation of hazardous waste regulations for the disposal of chromium contaminated wastes.

In 1984, monitoring wells detected chromium in ground water downgradient of the lagoon. In July 1985, sampling by Vermont Department of Health (VT DOH) showed six residential private drinking water wells downgradient of the lagoon and leach field to be contaminated with TCE up to 190 parts per billion (ppb) and PCE up to 12 ppb, concentrations above federal Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs). In addition, indoor air samples collected in residences down gradient from the property showed VOCs at levels posing unacceptable risk to humans. The drinking water wells were subsequently closed, and residents were provided with an alternate drinking water supply.

Numerous ground water, surface water, sediment, residential indoor air, and soil sampling events occurred between 1984 and 2002. In 1987 and 1988, concentrations of TCE and PCE were detected in ground water up to 3,300 ppb and 660 ppb, respectively. In 1996, soil samples collected by Vermont Agency for Natural Resources (VT ANR) indicated TCE concentrations up to 1,790 ppb directly downgradient of the leach field. Additional studies detected DCE up to 180 ppb, chromium at 3.4 ppb, TCE at 170 ppb, and vinyl chloride at 11 ppb in wetlands and the nearby unnamed stream, which flows into Muddy Brook and ultimately the Winooski River. In 1999, ground water samples taken by the VT ANR found TCE in ground water at levels as high as 90,000 ppb downgradient of the former Mitec facility. In 2002, EPA detected elevated levels of 11 VOCs and 13 total metals in monitoring wells located throughout the industrial park and surrounding residential area.

The unnamed stream is a habitat for two State-designated threatened species and is a State-designated area for protection and maintenance of aquatic life under the Clean Water Act. The Winooski River downstream of the property is a known fishery. Ground water contamination continues to be detected directly downgradient of the property and has the potential to migrate to private and public water supplies serving approximately 1,575 people within 4 miles of the property.

Threats and Contaminants
[Back to Top]

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) tetrachloroethylene (PCE), trichloroethylene (TCE), dichloroethylene (DCE), and metals including chromium, cadmium, and nickel have been detected in soil and ground water throughout the property and TCE and PCE have been detected in nearby drinking water wells above health-based standards. In addition, elevated levels of contaminants linked to the property have migrated to nearby streams and wetlands via ground water to surface water recharge.

Cleanup Approach
[Back to Top]

None at this time, pending completion of the remedial investigation and feasibility study.

Response Action Status
[Back to Top]

Initial Action EPA initiated a fund-lead remedial investigation (RI) on August 11, 2008.

Remedial Investigation Groundwater samples and water level measurements taken across the site in 2008, 2010 and 2011 confirm the presence of a groundwater plume of contamination, primarily TCE, across the study area (Commerce Street, Kirby Lane, South Brownell, Shunpike Road). Human-health and ecological risk assessments will be conducted over the winter of 2011-2012. A final report with the laboratory results and a conceptual site model is expected to be completed in spring 2012.

ATSDR Public Health Assessment By law, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) is required to conduct a Public Health Assessment (PHA) on all Superfund sites. The PHA is expected to be completed in 2012.

Feasibility Study The feasibility study is expected to begin in 2012, pending the completion of the remedial investigation.

Vapor Intrusion Due to high concentrations of TCE, an investigation into the potential for vapors to accumulate in buildings above the groundwater plume is indicated. EPA will be conducting an indoor air study in 2012.

Enforcement HighlightsGeneral notice letters of potential liability and demand for reimbursement of past costs in the amount of $600,000 were sent to Mitec Telecom, Inc (May 15, 2007), Meyer Bentob (May 15, 2007) and the Beatrice P. Alling Trust (June 20, 2007). Special notice letters seeking voluntary performance of a remedial investigation and feasibility study were sent to the three aforementioned parties on September 28, 2007.

Environmental Progress
[Back to Top]

In 1984, VT AEC filed suit against Mitec for alleged contamination and submitted a 6610a Administrative Order to Mitec issuing a formal notice of violation, charging Mitec with illegal disposal of hazardous waste. Contaminated soil was removed from an unlined wastewater disposal lagoon located behind the building in 1985. Manufacturing operations on the property ceased in 1986. The State of Vermont reached a settlement with Mitec and with the funds collected pursuant to the settlement, conducted a groundwater monitoring program. More contaminated soil was removed from the unlined lagoon in 1989. With support from the State of Vermont, EPA proposed the site for the Superfund National Priorities List in September 2004 and finalized the listing in April 2005. In 2007, EPA notified three parties of their potential liability for the site clean up and invited those parties to voluntarily perform the remedial investigation and feasibility study. In August 2008, EPA initiated a hydrogeologic investigation of the site, which is one aspect of the remedial investigation.

Current Site Status
[Back to Top]

EPA collected groundwater quality samples and water level measurements across the study area in 2008, 2010 and 2011. The study confirmed the presence of a plume of contamination, primarily TCE, with two hot spots -- along Commerce Street and near the intersection of South Brownell and Shunpike Road. Although there is a clean layer of groundwater across the study area that is at least 5 to 10 feet below the water table (in some places it is 15 to 20 feet below the water table), EPA believes the potential for vapor intrusion exists and a study of indoor air is indicated. EPA will be targeting owners of residential and commercial buildings in those areas where the highest levels of contamination are closest to the surface. At least two rounds of sampling (one in cold weather, one in warm) are needed to ensure the validity of indoor air data. That study is expected to be completed by spring 2013. Once the remedial investigation is complete, EPA will survey the potential remedial actions (the feasibility study) and will propose a clean up plan (expected in 2014).

Site Photos
[Back to Top]

Links to Other Site Information
[Back to Top]
Disclaimer Instructions about PDF

Newsletters & Press Releases:
Press Releases about this project  
Fact Sheet: EPA Community Update, Spring 2010 (725 KB)  

Federal Register Notices:
Proposed NPL Listing  

Reports and Studies:
Investigation Report, July 25, 2000  
Corrective Action Feasibility Document, January 29, 2001  
Data Summary Report, Remedial Investigation Fall/Winter 2008, June 1, 2009 (20.2 MB)   
2010 Data Summary Report, Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS), June 2011 (43.6 MB)  
2011 Data Summary Report, Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS), November 2011 (46.6 MB)  

Decision Documents:
View Records of Decision (RODS) on-line (EPA HQ)  

Other Links:
Site Progress Profile  

Site Repositories
[Back to Top]

OSRR Records and Information Center, 1st Floor, 5 Post Office Square, Suite 100 (HSC), Boston, MA 02109-3912 (617) 918-1440

[Back to Top

EPA Remedial Project Manager: Karen Lumino
Address: US Environmental Protection Agency
5 Post Office Sq., Suite 100
Mail Code: OSRR07-4
Boston, MA 02109 - 3912
Phone #: 617-918-1348
E-Mail Address: lumino.karen@epa.gov

EPA Community Involvement Coordinator: Pam Harting-Barrat
Address: US Environmental Protection Agency
5 Post Office Sq., Suite 100
Mail Code: ORA20-1
Boston, MA 02109 - 3912
Phone #: 617-918-1318
E-Mail Address: harting-barrat.pamela@epa.gov

State Agency Contact: Michael B. Smith
Address: VT Dept. Environmental Conservation
One National Life Drive
Davis One
Montpelier, VT 05602-3704
Phone #: 802-249-5826
E-Mail Address: Michael.B.Smith@state.vt.us


Serving Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, & 9 Tribal Nations
Begin Site Footer

EPA Home | Privacy and Security Notice | Contact Us

Last updated on Tuesday, April 30th, 2013
URL: http://www.epa.gov/region1/superfund/sites/commercestreet