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Removal of Potentially Hazardous Materials Underway at Bennington Vt. Mill Site

Release Date: 04/11/2008
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – April 11, 2008) – EPA is coordinating efforts with the Vermont Dept. of Environmental Conservation (VT DEC) and local officials during the removal of potentially hazardous materials being stored at the Vermont Mill Properties site in Bennington, Vt.

The mill site, which is adjacent to the Walloomsac River, has housed a business that has for many years produced personal protective equipment and stored large quantities of tear gas agent in the mill building. The mill building also contains several other active businesses. There is no indication that people working elsewhere in the mill, or residents of nearby neighborhoods, have been exposed to or harmed by the hazardous materials stored in the mill.

The work was prompted by a site investigation conducted by EPA and VTDEC in late January. Based on that site visit, EPA entered into a Settlement Agreement with Mace Security International and Benmont Mill Properties. Under the settlement agreement, the companies agreed to pay for and perform a removal action at the site. During the removal action, known hazardous pollutants, substances, or contaminants, including all drums and containers of waste material and contaminated soils will be transported to a licensed off-site disposal facility.

Under EPA supervision, work has begun and will continue over the next several weeks to assess materials in storage at the site, assess the physical condition of containers, and further identify any potential contamination of soil and groundwater. Crews will begin removing hazardous materials for appropriate disposal at licensed facilities. Soil and groundwater are being tested primarily for the presence of lead.

If soils are contaminated, there will be excavation to remove the subject areas. Excavated soils will be backfilled with clean soils and the area will be planted with new vegetation.

Drums of waste material located within an unused section of the mill will be sampled to determine appropriate disposal. The waste will be transferred to a permitted facility. Crews will perform sampling of tear gas agent (2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile) to determine the composition of material and identify whether it should be disposed of or if the owners can continue to sell it.

EPA and VTDEC will ensure that chemicals stored within the mill and used in manufacturing of Mace Security products are stored in compliance with all Federal and State regulations. The removal activities are expected to be completed by late May.

During this work, all appropriate measures will be taken to protect public health and safety. EPA and VTDEC are working closely with City of Bennington officials, other commercial tenants of the mill site and residents of the nearby residential neighborhood to provide information about the assessment and removal work at the property.

Air monitoring will be conducted and dust suppression measures will be taken to ensure that cleanup activities do not impact the air quality of residents and pedestrians within the vicinity of the mill. Access to areas where removal activities are occurring will be restricted to ensure public safety.

More information:
EPA "short term" removal actions (epa.gov/region1/superfund/basics/shrtterm.htm)

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