1996 News Releases
EPA Removes Flammable Substances in Gardner, Mass.
Release Date: 09/27/1996
Contact Information: Sarah White, EPA Office of Community Relations at (617) 918-1026 Dan Burke, EPA On-Scene Coordinator, (617) 573-9626 Donald Heeley, MA DEP, Bureau of Wasteside Cleanup: (508) 792-7653 ext. 3810
BOSTON--- The Environmental Protection Agency's New England Emergency Response Team, in cooperation with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MA DEP) Bureau of Wasteside Cleanup and Bureau of Waste Prevention in Worcester today removed 16 barrels of highly flammable substances at the Country Home Furnishings in Gardner, Mass.
The team removed and disposed of approximately 16 drums of a wood finishing mixture that is flammable and potentially explosive. Seven of the drums contained nitrocellulose, a component of lacquer dust and the remaining nine drums contained a mixture of lacquers and stains.
"The ability to prevent accidents before they happen is crucial for ensuring a safe environment in New England," said Linda Murphy, Director of EPA New England's Office of Site Remediation and Restoration. "Thanks to the quick, well orchestrated action of the MA DEP, EPA and the Gardner Fire department, a potentially dangerous situation has been defused. Gardner's residents and workers can take comfort in the knowledge that all dangerous materials have been removed from the site."
"People living around this property should not have to worry that their health or safety is at risk from potentially dangerous materials sitting next door," said E. Gail Suchman, Regional Director of MA DEP's Worcester Office. "Our partnership with EPA has proven to be highly effective in finding and quickly removing these types of risks in our neighborhoods."
After conducting a site inspection, MA DEP notified the EPA that barrels containing a potentially explosive substance had been identified at Country Home Furnishings. Experts were concerned that the nitrocellulose-containing lacquer dust stored in a wood frame structure in a residential area posed a potential threat to nearby properties. The EPA sampled the material in the barrels and confirmed there to be flammable and potentially explosive solvent material.
Materials in the barrels were taken off the property to a disposal facility where the mixtures will be treated, recycled, and properly disposed of.
The Gardner Fire Department was notified of the removal, and a 24 hour security detachment is posted at the site to prevent trespassing.
The EPA estimates the cost of the chemical removal and disposal to be $14,000.
The Country Home Furnishings property is located at 25 Walkman Drive in Gardner. A 40,000 square foot, wood frame structure stands on the property which is located in a residential area. The nearest residence is 50 feet from the storage shed where the hazardous materials were found. Country Home Furnishings is a facility that mills, assembles and finishes furniture.