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EPA COMPLETES CLEANUP AT FORMER CHEMICAL SITE

Release Date: 11/07/1996
Contact Information: Leo Kay, Press Office, (617)918-4154 Richard Haworth, On Scene Coordinator, (617)573-5756

BOSTON -- The Environmental Protection Agency completed the removal of thousands of gallons of hazardous materials last week from the Dytex Chemical Site, which is located in a densely populated neighborhood on High Street in Central Falls, RI.

An EPA field team also salvaged a large portion of the hazardous materials by shipping roughly 2,000 gallons of sulfuric acid from the former chemical facility to another local company for reuse.

"Less than four months after getting the call to investigate Dytex Chemical, the EPA has cleaned the site up and freed the property of any future threats that the hazardous chemicals could have posed to public health," said John P. DeVillars, administrator of the EPA's new England Office. "We also managed to lessen costs and incorporate recycling by sending hundreds of gallons of sulfuric acid to another facility for reuse."

Had the cleanup not taken place, chemicals on the property could have posed a fire or explosion threat to nearby residents -- some of whom live 50 feet from the site. Unattended hazardous materials also posed a public health threat to anyone accessing the property.

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management referred the site to the EPA in July after determining that the state had insufficient resources to perform the cleanup. Within 30 days, an EPA field team began the removal.

During the EPA's initial site investigation, a field team discovered more than 1,000 containers both inside and outside the Dytex Building. In addition, several tanks were found outside, one of which contained the 2,000 gallons of sulfuric acid.

EPA investigators spent the next two months consolidating and repackaging the chemicals to prevent incompatible compounds from being exposed to one another. RIDEM had expedited the removal process by collecting samples and generating laboratory data prior to requesting EPA assistance.

The EPA is currently seeking to recover from Dytex a portion of the $300,000 the federal government spent on the cleanup. The company shut down in March, claiming bankrupcy.

Dytex Chemical operated as a chemical repackaging company that produced automotive, pool supply and various industrial chemicals. The company also provided chemicals for jewelry and textile manufacturing.