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EPA Determines Ashton Mill Property Not Part of Superfund Site

Release Date: 10/29/2002
Contact Information: Alice Kaufman, EPA Press Office, 617-918-1064 Dave Newton, Project Manager, (617) 918-1243

BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency determined that the Ashton Mill property does not fall in the boundaries of the Peterson/Puritan Superfund site in Cumberland and Lincoln, RI, clearing the way for its development. EPA reviewed extensive monitoring data and site information collected by the mill owner and the developer before making this decision.

"This is a major finding that paves the way with plans for converting the Ashton Mill into a residential community," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA New England. "EPA's site evaluation and conclusion support the state's commitment to work closely with the owner and developer to cleanup the property under the state Brownfields program before moving ahead with the redevelopment plans."

At the same time as the agency reviewed the Ashton Mill parcel, EPA also completed an evaluation of the cleanup remedies that are currently in place at the CCL and PAC areas of the site to make sure that they continue to be effective. EPA also studied the J.M. Mills Landfill area.

Findings from the Five Year review study follow:

CCL and PAC Areas:

EPA evaluated the effectiveness of the soil and groundwater remedies at the CCL and PAC areas and concluded that while the remedy is protective in the short term, arsenic concentrations in the ground water remain above drinking water standards. To further safeguard public health, EPA is requiring land use restrictions (called institutional controls) on all the properties where the groundwater is contaminated. EPA is also requiring additional studies:

    • field studies to determine what the naturally occurring levels of arsenic in groundwater in the area are to use as a comparison, and
    • additional monitoring and modeling to determine if natural ecological processes are sufficient to lower arsenic levels.
J. M. Mills Landfill:

Groundwater, surface water and sediments studies at the landfill are not yet complete. EPA reminds anglers, and recreational boaters that frequent that area of the Blackstone River that there are physical hazards from previous trash dumping and potential health risks stemming from contact with contaminated sediments and shoreline soils.

The five year review report and other technical documents related to Peterson/Puritan Superfund site cleanup are available for review at the Lincoln and Cumberland public libraries.

The Peterson/Puritan, Inc. Superfund site was placed on the EPA's National Priorities List in 1983 after site investigations revealed groundwater contamination. In 1959, the Peterson/Puritan plant began packaging aerosol products and the facility remains in operation today under the name of CCL Custom Manufacturing Inc. In 1974, approximately 6200 gallons of solvent spilled from a rail car and tank incident during a delivery at the plant's tank farm. EPA determined that this spill was the primary source of ground water contamination affecting the area's municipal drinking water wells.

The two mile site includes the former Peterson/Puritan plant and surrounding industrial park, the now inactive J. M. Mills Landfill, the Quinnville and Lenox Street municipal well fields and various land parcels along the Blackstone River. Since being constructed in 1997, the CCL area soil vapor extraction and groundwater treatment systems have been removing volatile organic compounds from the contaminated soil and groundwater. The PAC remedy included the removal of leachfields and providing a treatment system to reduce arsenic concentrations in the groundwater. Additional studies are being conducted.

More information about cleanup activities at the Peterson Puritan site may be found on the EPA New England web site at: http://www.epa.gov/region1/superfund/sites/peterson/35376.pd