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CLEANUP UNDERWAY AT KOGUT PESTICIDE SITE

Release Date: 11/18/1996
Contact Information: Liza Judge, Community Involvement, (617) 918-1067 Arthur Wing, On-Scene Coordinator, (617) 573-5755

BOSTON ---An Environmental Protection Agency cleanup crew has repackaged, and will begin to remove, drums of hazardous fungicides from the Kogut Nursery Site in Suffield, Connecticut this week.

After building a sealed plastic containment area to prevent the spread of any contaminated dust, the crew repackaged approximately 230 drums containing the fungicide Zineb, and five drums containing formaldehyde wastes, stored in a barn on the property.

"We are taking care of this quickly, without compromising safety. We are working with local officials to ensure that the operation does not coincide with school hours or athletic activities,". Said John P. DeVillars, administrator of the EPA's New England office. "We're making every effort to finish the work by Thanksgiving."

Many of the 55-gallon drums were rusted at the bottom and required repacking in larger drums for safe transport. The EPA crew arrived at the site Nov. 12 and spent several days building the containment area before beginning work on the drums. From Thursday through Sunday the crew worked approximately 3:30 p.m. to midnight on the drums. Two machines attached to the enclosed work room pull in clean air and filter any exiting air with high-efficiency dust filters to capture any chemicals released during the repackaging. While they work, the crew wears white protective coveralls and uses supplied breathing air.

The first shipment of drums is scheduled to leave the site after school hours, late in the evening tonight. The remainder are scheduled for removal late tomorrow. EPA anticipates that five truck loads, carrying 40 to 60 drums apiece, will be taken from the site to a licensed hazardous waste incinerator, ENSCO Environmental Systems, Inc., in Arkansas.

The EPA has coordinated and met with local selectmen, fire, health, and school officials and will continue to keep them apprised as cleanup continues.

Zineb, a product applied to tobacco to prevent the spread of fungus, and other agricultural chemicals were stored in a barn on the property. Residual from a January 1987 fire at the site, including the remaining fungicide and debris, were placed in drums and stored on the property. In July 1996, the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection requested that EPA evaluate the site for a possible removal action.

Until the early 1980s, a previous owner cultivated tobacco on the 155-acre property located on Mountain Road (Route 168) in Suffield. Kogut Enterprises purchased the property in 1985 and now grows landscaping plants for resale. One family lives on the site, and many homes and the Spaulding Elementary School are nearby.