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Waste Site Cleanup & Reuse in New England
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  WEST SITE/HOWS CORNERS


Map this site in Cleanups in My Community
 Plymouth,  Maine
 Penobscot County
 Street Address: CAMBELL/SAWYER ROAD
 Zip Code: 04969
 Congressional
 District(s):

02
 EPA ID #: MED985466168
 Site ID #: 0101800
 Site Aliases:

 Site Responsibility: Potentially Responsible Parties

 NPL LISTING HISTORY
 Proposed Date 02/13/1995
 Final Date 09/29/1995

Site Description
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The West Site/Hows Corners Superfund Site is defined as a 17-acre parcel of land owned by George West and the surrounding properties where groundwater contamination has come to be located. Mr. West used a small, 2-acre portion of the site to operate a waste oil facility from 1965 to 1980 in affiliation with the Portland/Bangor Waste Oil Company (PBWO). This 2-acre portion of the site is fenced and is referred to as the source area. The source consists of a partially grassy clearing, approximately 150 by 200 feet, with occasional bedrock outcroppings that run north-south. There are no buildings or other structures within this area. Waste oil, delivered by PBWO tank trucks, was stored within the source area in approximately eight 1,000 to 20,000 gallon storage tanks. PBWO collected, transported, and deposited unknown quantities of waste oil from military bases, auto dealerships, municipalities, local garages, bulk transportation companies, industries, and utility companies. Oil was stored in tanks; the company then sold the lighter oil for fuel and the heavier oils for dust control on dirt roads. PBWO company records indicate that the waste stored on the site was predominantly composed of used motor oils and industrial lubricating oil; however, because of the varied types of facilities contributing waste, the exact elements of the oils are unknown. In 1980, PBWO ceased operations at the site and PBWO cut up the tanks on site and sold them to a scrap metal dealer. No waste oil activities are known to have take place after the tanks were removed. When MEDEP performed a routine site inspection in 1988, the only waste source was contaminated soil. This soil was subsequently removed in 1990-91 as part an initial cleanup action. In addition, EPA installed an alternate water supply system in 1993 to provide a permanent supply of safe drinking water to those residences whose private water supplies have been contaminated by past site activities.

Threats and Contaminants
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Groundwater in abandoned private supply wells near the source area and in monitoring wells located throughout the site are contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including tetrachloroethene, trichloroethene, and dichloroethene. While no one is currently being exposed to contaminated groundwater, continued use of existing private wells or the installation of new private wells could result in people being exposed to unsafe levels of contamination at some time in the future.

Cleanup Approach
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This site is being addressed in three stages: initial actions, non-source area groundwater cleanup (Operable Unit 1), and source area groundwater cleanup (Operable Unit 2).

Response Action Status
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Initial Action Aboveground storage tanks were removed in 1980 after PBWO ceased operations at the site. The site is surrounded by a chain link fence which was partially installed by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection in 1988 and completed by EPA in 1990. From 1990 to 1991, EPA removed approximately 850 tons of contaminated soil from the center of the site and disposed of it at a federally-approved toxic waste facility. An alternate water line was installed in
1993-94 for residents with or determined to be at risk of having contaminated groundwater.


Remedial Action for Operable Unit 1 Under the oversight of EPA, the potentially responsible parties completed an investigation of the nature and extent of contamination at the Site. Data from this investigation was used to develop both a Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment. Based on the findings of these assessments, EPA identified the need for cleanup actions to address groundwater contaminated by past site activities. Consequently, the potentially responsible parties completed a Feasibility Study (FS) in July 2002 to evaluate cleanup options for Non-Source Area groundwater. Cleanup options for Source Area groundwater will be evaluated in a separate FS which will be completed as part of Operable Unit 2.
In September 2002, EPA issued a Record of Decision for Operable Unit 1 that selected containment of the highly contaminated groundwater; monitored natural attenuation of the groundwater in OU1; long-term monitoring of the groundwater, surface water; and sediments in nearby ponds; and institutional controls.


Remedial Action for Operable Unit 2 EPA issued a Record of Decision for the Source Area in September 2006. This followed an evaluation assessing the technical practicability of restoring the source area groundwater to drinking water quality. This assessment concluded that it was technically impracticable to restore the source area groundwater. Therefore the 2006 Record of Decision included a waiver for restoring the groundwater within a limited area of the Site while affirming that with containment of the highly contaminated groundwater by pumping, that monitored natural attenuation of OU2 groundwater was a viable approach.
In addition to the groundwater, the 2006 Record of Decision required the investigation and mitigation, if determined necessary, of the vapor intrusion pathway from the source area into indoor air in the surrounding homes.


Entire Site In 2003, the Town of Plymouth created a zoning ordinance for the area around the Hows Corner Site that prevents the use of groundwater. This control has been supplemented by the placement of restrictive covenants on nearly all the properties within the zone through agreements between the individual property owners and the Potentially Responsible Parties.

Entire Site Following negotiations for remedial design and remedial action, with approximately one hundred Potentially Responsible Parties that concluded with a consent decree being entered into US District Court in Maine.

Environmental Progress
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Removing aboveground storage tanks and contaminated soil and erecting a chain link fence have reduced the potential for further contamination and potential exposure at the West Site/Hows Corners Superfund Site. However, as presented in the Remedial Investigation Report (July 2001), groundwater underlying the Site poses an unacceptable risk to human health and the environment. Consequently, the Potentially Responsible Parties completed a Feasibility Study in July 2002 to assess various cleanup options to address contaminated groundwater. The cleanup options include: No Further Action, which includes no actions beyond EPA's initial actions; Limited Action, which includes groundwater monitoring and groundwater use restrictions; and Hydraulic Containment, which will contain highly contaminated groundwater within the source area of the site.

After EPA signed a second Record of Decision in September 2006, negotiations were conducted with approximately one hundred Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs) for the remedial design and remedial action (RD/RA), The negotiations concluded with a consent decree being entered into US District Court in Maine in February 2010. Two of the Potentially Responsible Parties signed the consent decree as Performing Settling Defendants who will fund and perform all cleanup activities associated with the Site. The other Potentially Responsible Parties also signed the consent decree as cash-out parties, but not as performing parties.

Current Site Status
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On July 10, 2002, EPA presented its preferred cleanup plan for Non-Source Area groundwater. Details of this preferred cleanup are outlined in EPA' s Proposed Plan for the site can be viewed on-line (see the "Links to Other Site Information" section below). From July 12, 2002 through August 12, 2002, the public had the opportunity to comment on EPA's proposed cleanup for the Site. EPA did not receive any comments during the comment period. On September 24, 2002 EPA issued a Record of Decision (ROD) for the Site based on the cleanup presented in the Proposed Plan. The design of the cleanup plan specified in the 2002 ROD is scheduled to commence in Spring 2005. A second Feasibility Study to evaluate whether or not the cleanup plan presented in the 2002 ROD should be expanded to include OU2 (i.e., Source Area groundwater) is currently under review. Based on the results of this study, EPA will issue a final ROD for the site that will either include additional cleanup measures or waive them based on a finding of technical impracticability.

As stated above, EPA signed the second ROD in September 2006. Design of the groundwater containment system was completed in October 2007. Following the completion of the RD/RA negotiations, the Performing Settling Defendants have submitted several work plans to EPA and Maine DEP for implementation of the remedy. Construction of the groundwater containment system began in October 2010 and is expected to be substantially completed by late spring 2011. The groundwater containment system includes a bedrock well that will pump the contaminated groundwater up through an aboveground treatment system and then the clean water will be pumped back into the bedrock.

In addition to the groundwater containment system, the Performing Settling Defendants have submitted plans for evaluating the potential vapor intrusion pathway to surrounding homes. This follows two preliminary investigation by EPA in February 2007 and March 2010.

Site Photos
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Links to Other Site Information
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Disclaimer Instructions about PDF

Newsletters & Press Releases:
Press Releases about this project   
Public Meetings Scheduled for EPA's Proposed Groundwater Cleanup, July 2002 (348KB)  

Federal Register Notices:
Final NPL Listing  

Administrative Records:
Administrative Record Index, OU02 Source Area Groundwater, September 28, 2006 (1.15 MB)  
Administrative Record Index, Record of Decision (ROD) OU 01, September 24, 2002 (425 KB)  
Administrative Record Index, OU01 Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD), March 11, 2010 (90.4 KB)  

Reports and Studies:
Preliminary Reuse Assessment, September 2002  
Proposed Final Cleanup Plan, May 2006 (780 KB)  
Five Year Review Report, September 2008 (3.09MB)  
Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD), March 10, 2010 (2.38 MB)  
Preliminary Close Out Report (PCOR), September 28, 2011 (11.3 MB)  
Second Five Year Review Report, September 2013 (9.1 MB)  

Decision Documents:
View Records of Decision (RODS) on-line (EPA HQ)  
Interim Record of Decision, September 24, 2002 (141KB)  
Record of Decision, OU02 Source Area Groundwater, September 28, 2006 (opening file is 7.87 MB with links to additional PDF files)  

Other Links:
NPL Site Narrative at Listing:  
Site Progress Profile  

Site Repositories
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Plymouth Town Hall, Route 7, Plymouth, ME 09969 207-257-4646

OSRR Records and Information Center, 1st Floor, 5 Post Office Square, Suite 100 (HSC), Boston, MA 02109-3912 (617) 918-1440


Contacts
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EPA Remedial Project Manager: Kevin Heine
Address: US Environmental Protection Agency
5 Post Office Sq., Suite 100
Mail Code OSRR07-1
Boston, MA 02109 - 3912
Phone #: 617-918-1321
E-Mail Address: heine.kevin@epa.gov

EPA Community Involvement Coordinator: Pamela Harting-Barrat
Address: US Environmental Protection Agency
5 Post Office Sq., Suite 100
Mail Code ORA20-1
Boston, MA 02109 - 3912
Phone #: 617-918-1318
E-Mail Address: harting-barrat.pamela@epa.gov

State Agency Contact: Claudia Sait
Address: Maine Department of Environmental Protection
State House Station #17
Augusta, ME 04333
Phone #: 207-287-7713
E-Mail Address: claudia.b.sait@state.me.us

 


Serving Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, & 9 Tribal Nations
 
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