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CLEANUP TO START NEXT WEEK AT FORMER GEORGETOWN LEATHER FINISHING SITE

Release Date: 10/17/1996
Contact Information: Leo Kay, Press Office, (617)918-4154

BOSTON --- The Environmental Protection Agency will begin removing approximately 2,000 tons of soil contaminated with lead and chromium next week from the former Coronet Leather Finishing, Inc. facility in Georgetown, Mass.

The EPA cleanup crew, along with its contractor OHM from Hopkinton, Mass., will also remove 75 containers of hazardous solvents and waste paints used in the old leather finishing operation on 201 Central Street. The EPA has budgeted nearly $1.6 million for the cleanup.

Inspections by EPA investigators over the past year found exposed contaminated soil and unrestricted access to the facility, which is situated in a residential area. A wetland and Bulford Brook are also nearby. Drums and other containers on the 2.6 acre property pose a threat of fire or explosion.

"The close working relationship we share with the state and local town officials is allowing us to take action on a site that could have otherwise continued to pose an ominous public health threat to the people of Georgetown," said John P. DeVillars, administrator of the EPA's New England office. "The site's proximity to the center of town combined with the presence of hazardous materials dictated that we move quickly in cleaning the containation up."

"Our office has been contacted by the EPA cleanup crew, who are removing hazardous material from the Coronet Leather site on Central Street. The cleanup crew are fully trained professionals that are concerned with the environment and protecting the residents in the area," said Georgetown Health Agent Karen L. Springer. "All necessary precautions have been considered and will be enforced throughout the procedures. I would like to add that I am pleased with the high level of communications we have with the crew and the representatives from the EPA."

Beginning Oct. 21, EPA and OHM staff will remove approximately two feet of soil and load it into covered dump trucks, which will transport the soils to a federally-licensed disposal facility. The trucks' tires will be washed to avoid spreading contaminated soil on town road, and water will be sprayed to prevent any movement of dust.

In addition, EPA and contractor staff will monitor air quality to ensure that dust and contaminants are not spread. To comply with federal worker protection requirements, the cleanup crew will wear white protective clothing and breathing protection throughout most of the cleanup.

The team will work from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and some Saturdays, with the cleanup expected to finish in December.

The Coronet Leather Company operated from 1962 through 1992 finishing leather with lacquers. Throughout the company's history, contaminated wastewater was discharged from the building's floor drains into the ground outside.

Following a fire at the site in 1984, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MADEP) discovered contamination in ponded water during a site investigation Under the MADEP's direction, Coronet had 37 drums of hazardous materials and fire-related waste removed to eliminate immediate public health threats posed by the contamination.

The EPA discovered further contamination during a site investigation last year. The EPA's cleanup crew began to remove brush from around the facility in late September, allowing access to the contaminated soil.

Residents with questions about the cleanup may contact Karen Springer, Georgetown Health Agent at (508)352-5720 or EPA On-Scene Coordinator Amy Jean Lussier at (508)352-4509.