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Waste Site Cleanup & Reuse in New England
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 Meddybemps,  Maine
 Washington County
 Street Address: Route 191
 Zip Code: 04657

 EPA ID #: MED981073711
 Site ID #: 0101054
 Site Aliases:

 Site Responsibility: Federal, State, Potentially Responsible Parties

 Proposed Date 10/02/1995
 Final Date 06/17/1996

Site Description
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The Eastern Surplus Company property covers approximately 5 acres and is bordered by Meddybemps Lake to the north, the Dennys River to the east, Route 191 to the south, and Stone Road to the west. The Eastern Surplus Superfund Site includes both the Eastern Surplus Company property to the north of Route 191 and property on the south side of Route 191. Two other hazardous waste sites are located within 3 miles of the site: the Smith Junkyard site and the Green Hill Quarry site. The Eastern Surplus Company Site is also a major archaeological site. The Site was determined by EPA to eligible for the National Register of Historic Places as a result of the presence of Native American artifacts dating back approximately 9000 years.

Threats and Contaminants
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The Eastern Surplus Company property covers approximately 5 acres and is bordered by Meddybemps Lake to the north, the Dennys River to the east, Route 191 to the south, and Stone Road to the west. Two other hazardous waste sites are located within 3 miles of the site: the Smith Junkyard site and the Green Hill Quarry site. From 1946 to the early 1980s, this property was the location of the Eastern Surplus Company, a retailer of army surplus and salvage items. The property was inspected by MEDEP in 1984. During this inspection, the MEDEP noted chemical odors, leaking electrical transformers, hundreds of deteriorating drums and containers, compressed gas cylinders, 16,000 pounds of calcium carbide, and numerous areas of stained soil. In 1995, MEDEP immediately initiated emergency cleanup and removal measures and erected a fence to secure the property. EPA took over the removal actions in 1986. Site contamination threatens adjacent Meddybemps Lake and Dennys River, which both maintain active fisheries and spawning areas, a National Wildlife Refuge, and a habitat for the federally-designated threatened bald eagle. An estimated 200 people use private wells located within a 4-mile radius of the property.

Cleanup Approach
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The site is being addressed in three phases: an initial emergency response action; a non-time critical removal action; and a long-term remedial action focusing on cleanup of the entire site.

Response Action Status
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Emergency Actions In 1987, the MEDEP put up a fence to restrict access to the site and began cleanup and removal measures. To stabilize the site the EPA, MEDEP, and DOD sampled numerous containers of hazardous materials and then disposed of them off site. The potentially responsible parties also treated and disposed of gas cylinders and treated calcium carbide.

Early Response Actions EPA signed an Action Memorandum in July 1998 initiating a non-time critical removal action (NTCRA) at the site. The NTCRA will involve the clearing of the site, excavation of PCBs and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) above specific cleanup levels; and extraction and treatment of contaminated groundwater in the northern plume. The NTCRA was initiated in September 1998 and the soil excavation and removal was completed in 1999. A source control groundwater extraction system was also installed as part of the NTCRA.

Entire Site In August 1996, EPA initiated the remedial investigation at the site. Soils, groundwater, surface water, and sediments were sampled. The field work for the Remedial Investigation (RI) was completed in the fall of 1998 and the reports for the Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS) was released to the public during the summer 1999 The Record of Decision (ROD) was signed in September 2000. The ROD includes groundwater extraction and treatment along with in-situ chemical oxidation to restore the contaminated groundwater.
The groundwater extraction and treatment system became fully operational in 2001 with one extraction system operating north of Route 191 and one south of Route 191. Both systems are oriented parallel to the Dennys River to prevent contaminated groundwater from entering the river.

Entire Site In addition to the pumping of contaminated groundwater, EPA supplemented the cleanup process with the injection of sodium permanganate into the ground (in-situ chemcial oxidation) to accelerate the degradation of the contaminants. As a result of both of these actions, the contaminant concentrations in the groundwater south of Route 191 are now at the drinking water standards. However, because of the more complex geology and higher initial concentrations in the groundwater north of Route 191, relatively high levels of contaminants remain in this portion of the property.

Entire Site During the summers of 2000 and 2001, an archaeological excavation was performed at the northern end of the property. This excavation was done under the direction of the University of Maine - Farmington Archaeology Resource Center. In 2006, UMF finalized two reports, one a technical report and the other for the general public, that described the activities and the results of the study. In addition to the reports, a video documentary was produced that tells the story of the site as a hub for travel throughout the St. Croix watershed by Native Americans for the past 9000 years. In August 2006, four commemorative plaques were installed in the excavated area to highlight the history of the site by Native Americans.

Entire Site In 2006, EPA conducted a five-year review of the site as required by the Superfund law. This review concluded that the implemented remedy remains protective of human health and the environment: the contaminated soils had been removed off-site such that there was no longer a risk associated with these soils; there was no current exposure to contaminated water; and contaminant concentrations in the river sediment did not pose a threat to ecological receptors. The review recommended that EPA and MEDEP evaluate the use of other methods to increase the effectiveness of the groundwater extraction system north of Route 191; that the treatment plant be optimized to the extent possible; that the long-term monitoring plan be optimized; and that final resolution of the long-term ownership and land-use restrictions be developed.

Entire Site Operation of the groundwater extraction and above-ground treatment system resumed in 2007 after a one-year shut down that was used to evaluate how much contaminant concentrations would change, or rebound. As anticipated, initial concentrations upon resumption of the extraction were greater than when the system was shut down, but, after a few months, the concentrations dropped back down to previous levels.
Since then, steps have been taken to optimize both the extraction system and the monitoring program. Additionally, the extraction wells located south of Route 191 were shut down in late 2010 as VOC concentrations had decreased to drinking water standards.

Entire Site In December 2011, EPA suspended operation of the northern extraction system to evaluate the feasibility of using bioremediation technology to break down the remaining contamination. Following bench-scale efforts to select the optimal materials, these materials were injected into four wells in the northern plume in October 2012 and again in April 2013. Post-injection data indicated the contaminants were being successfully broken down to ethane and ethene gases.
EPA and MEDEP are now evaluating the data to determine the next steps for the site.

Environmental Progress
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Constructing a fence and conducting the emergency measures described above reduced the potential for risk to human health and the environment at the Eastern Surplus Company site while investigations were completed. EPA sampled residential wells near the site to confirm that they were clean. EPA removed the hazardous substances in drums, cylinders, and other containers at the site. The removal action resulted in the removal of contaminated soil from the site. The groundwater extraction and treatment system began operation in 2000 and was expanded in 2001. The mitigation for the loss of historic resources was initiated in 2000. A 200 square meter archaeological excavation was implemented. EPA continued to operate and maintain the groundwater extraction and treatment system as a long term response action until December 2011.

Current Site Status
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This Site was listed in 1996. Contaminated soils were excavated and disposed of off-site in the late 1990's. After the initiation of the groundwater extraction and treatment system, EPA completed three in-ground applications of permanganate in order to accelerate the cleanup of the groundwater. Contaminant concentrations in the groundwater were successfully lowered on the portion of the Site south of Route 191. Following these supplemental efforts, EPA continued to operate the groundwater extraction and treatment system until December 2011. Since suspension of that system, EPA implemented a pilot-scale application of bio-remediation to further break down the remaining contamination in the groundwater north of Route 191. Sampling of the Dennys River has shown that the river has consistently met surface water standards. Mitigation under the National Historic Preservation Act was substantially completed in 2006 and in 2012 a commemorative patio and pathway were constructed (see photos below). Sampling of surface water and sediments in the Dennys River has found contaminant concentrations continue to decrease and do not pose an unacceptable risk to human health or to ecological receptors.

Site Photos
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Links to Other Site Information
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Disclaimer Instructions about PDF

Newsletters & Press Releases:
Press Releases about this project  
Apache Times Article: Passamaquoddy Film Opens to Praise, March 25, 2006 (85 KB)  

Federal Register Notices:
Final NPL Listing  

Administrative Records:
Non-Time Critical Removal Action (NTCRA) Administrative Record (AR) Index, July 17, 1998 (246 KB)  
Non-Time Critical Removal Action (NTCRA) Administrative Record (AR) Index, August 19, 1999 (212 KB)  

Reports and Studies:
N’tolonapemk – An Ancient Native-American Village on Meddybemps Lake, Maine (4.5 MB)  
Five-Year Review, September 29, 2006 (5.62 MB)  
A Visit to Our Ancestors Place, Meddybemps - N'tolonapemk Village, 2005 (6.42MB)  
Final Design Report, 2003 for Draft In-Situ Oxidation Treatability Study (opening file is 27.45 MB with link to additional PDF file  
Final Design Report for Response Action Contract (RAC), July 1, 2001 (opening file is 20.27 MB with link to additional PDF file  
Second Five Year Review Report, September 29, 2011 (20.9 MB)  

Decision Documents:
View Records of Decision (RODS) on-line (EPA HQ)  
Record of Decision, September 28, 2000 (1975K)  
Institutional Controls at this Site  

Other Links:
NPL Site Narrative at Listing:  
Site Progress Profile  
"Behind the Scenes" Fact Sheet  

Site Repositories
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Calais Public Library, One Union Street, Calais, ME 04619.

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

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EPA Remedial Project Manager: Terry Connelly
Site Responsibilities: site remediation
Address: US Environmental Protection Agency
5 Post Office Square, Suite 100
Mail Code OSRR07-1
Boston, MA 02109-3912
Phone #: 617-918-1373
E-Mail Address: connelly.terry@epa.gov

EPA Community Involvement Coordinator: Sarah White
Address: US Environmental Protection Agency
5 Post Office Square, Suite 100
Mail Code ORA20-1
Boston, MA 02109-3912
Phone #: 617-918-1026
E-Mail Address: white.sarah@epa.gov


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