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Work Begins to Remove Contamination at Newtown, Conn. Site

Release Date: 10/25/2012
Contact Information: Kelsey O’Neil, (617) 918-1003

(Boston, Mass. - Oct. 25, 2012) - This week EPA began work to remove contaminated materials from the Batchelder site at 46A Swamp Road in Newtown, in Fairfield County, Connecticut.  The cleanup is expected to be completed in approximately two months.  Contamination at the Site does not present health risks to the neighboring area; however, Town officials would like to remind residents that it is important to remain off the site.

The Site, a former aluminum smelting facility which was in operation from 1947 to 1987, is now abandoned.  The facility’s operations included smelting aluminum and using oil containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to heat the facility building and run the smelters.  This resulted in the generation of large piles of fine metal waste product (called baghouse fines and dross). These piles are contaminated with high levels of metals including cadmium, lead, tin, chromium, copper, zinc, and nickel, as well as PCBs.

There are also numerous safety hazards on the property including buildings in disrepair, open pits, broken glass, old machinery and debris piles.  A 6-foot fence topped with barbed wire, encircling the entire facility was installed and warning signs were posted to prevent access to those hazards.  Town officials warn residents to obey the No Trespassing signs.

Several remediation projects in the past have been implemented to address some contamination concerns.  In 1997, EPA conducted a removal action at the Site, which included the removal of a lead-contaminated soil pile, asbestos-containing roofing shingles, drums, containers, and aboveground storage tanks.

An updated Health Consultation, which is a document evaluating the potential health effects,  of the Batchelder property was recently completed by the CT Department of Public Health and the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Their evaluation concluded that the site could present a public health hazard to trespassers because of the high levels contaminants in the waste piles and because of the safety hazards on the property. CT DPH fully supports an Environmental Protection Agency Removal Action that will reduce or eliminate the public health and safety hazards present at the Site.

Activity at the Site will be most prominent around the former Charles Batchelder Company facility.  Noise from these activities should not be excessive, but there may be some noise generated from stabilizing the building.  EPA will be conducting air monitoring until work is complete and EPA has demobilized from the site. 

Town officials are hopeful that once this phase of the clean-up is completed, the new environmental testing results will enable the completion of site clean-up and future productive use of the property.

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