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EPA BEGINS TAUNTON HAZARDOUS WASTE CLEANUP

Release Date: 12/02/1999
Contact Information: Alice Kaufman, EPA Press Office, 617-918-1064

BOSTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will begin a $1.28 million, six-month cleanup this week to remove an estimated 1000 drums of hazardous wastes from the St. Germain Drum Site on Winthrop Street in Taunton, MA.

Along with the drums, heavily contaminated soils adjacent to the drums will be removed from the site for disposal at a licensed facility. EPA sampling results from the drums and soils showed elevated levels of volatile organic compounds including toluene, acetone, chlorobenzene, naphthalene, and 1,2,4 trichlorobenzene. As part of the cleanup, EPA will monitor air quality daily at the perimeter of the site.

"This site is an environmental disaster waiting to happen," said John P. DeVillars, EPA's New England administrator. "No one has been harmed and the nearby Three Mile River has not been impacted by the contaminants found at the site. Now is the time to remove the drums and soil before we are faced with a costlier cleanup later."

According to Rich Haworth, EPA's site manager, excavation will begin in suspected drum burial areas at the perimeter of the property so that this area can be made available for storing drums that will be excavated from other areas on the property. Drums and containers that are found relatively intact will be "overpacked" for easier storage and transportation for disposal. Crushed drums may be stockpiled, or stored in large containers on the site until disposed of. Excavated containers will be sampled and analyzed to determine safe disposal options.

From the1950s to 1972, the property owner accepted waste materials for disposal at the Winthrop Street property. These materials included waste drums that contained toxic chemicals. The current property owner runs a small general contracting operation and a heavy equipment maintenance garage onsite.

The St. Germain Drum Site is approximately 6 acres with an unnamed brook running through the property which drains into the Three Mile River approximately 1,000 feet to the north.