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Waste Site Cleanup & Reuse in New England
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  DURHAM MEADOWS


Map this site in Cleanups in My Community
 Durham,  Connecticut
 Middlesex County
 Street Address: (see below)
 Zip Code: 06422
 Congressional
 District(s):

02
 EPA ID #: CTD001452093
 Site ID #: 0100108
 Site Aliases: Merriam Manufacturing Co., Durham Manufacturing Co.

 Site Responsibility: Federal, State, Potentially Responsible Parties

 NPL LISTING HISTORY
 Proposed Date 06/24/1988
 Final Date 10/04/1989

Site Description
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The site consists of groundwater contamination generally centered on Main Street in Durham and industrial and residential properties in the area. Rural residential, commercial, and light industrial properties surround the area of concern, however, the exact boundary of the contamination is not currently known. Investigations at the Durham Meadows site center on several possible sources in the area of contamination and include, but are not limited to, the former location of the Merriam Manufacturing Company and the Durham Manufacturing Company, both of which are located on Main Street. The Merriam Manufacturing Company was established in 1851 and manufactured metal displays and boxes. Wastewater containing dissolved organic solvents and paint wastes were disposed of in lagoons from 1973 to 1982. In another area, paint wastes and degreasing solvents were stored on the ground in drums. Most of Merriam Manufacturing Company's facilities burned in 1998, and the company has relocated its operations. The Durham Manufacturing Company was established in 1922 and continues to operate as a manufacturer of metal boxes. Wastewater and waste sludge was disposed of in sludge drying beds, and wastes have also been stored on that site in drums. Many residents in the area are using private wells. The site is less than 0.5 miles from the Coginchaug River to the west and currently borders on the Allyn Brook to the south. A freshwater wetland is located on the Durham Manufacturing Company property.

Threats and Contaminants
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Wastewater and sludges from manufacturing processes at the site contain paint waste and organic solvents. In 1982, the State Department of Environmental Protection detected volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including methylene chloride, in private wells in the Durham area. Drinking contaminated groundwater may threaten the health of nearby residents; however, the provision of bottled water and installation of carbon filters on wells have decreased the threat of exposure to contaminated water. Certain areas of the site currently lack any security or physical barrier to prevent direct contact with contaminated soils. The nearby freshwater wetlands could potentially become polluted from the contaminants migrating from site.

Cleanup Approach
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The site is being addressed in two stages: initial actions and a long-term remedial phase focusing on cleanup of the entire site.

Response Action Status
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Initial Action Under State order, Merriam Manufacturing Company removed drums containing hazardous wastes to an EPA-approved facility, and supplied bottled water to residents in the vicinity of the site after the private wells were found to be contaminated. Carbon filters have since been installed in affected homes and are regularly monitored by both Merriam Manufacturing Company and the Durham Manufacturing Company under State Order.

Entire Site Entire Site: EPA and the Durham Manufacturing Company began investigations into the nature and extent of groundwater contamination in Spring 1998. The highest levels of contamination in bedrock groundwater are located at wells at the former location of the Merriam Manufacturing Company, the Durham Manufacturing Company, and at 168 Main Street and 174 Main Street. In the Summer of 2003, EPA's contractor performed work at the former location of the Merriam Manufacturing Company, including soil and soil vapor sampling, to more fully define the nature and extent of contamination on that property. In 2003-2004, EPA, in conjunction with the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (now know as the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection) and the Connecticut Department of Public Health, also sampled private wells in the area to supplement the 1998 groundwater data and to investigate the presence of a newly identified contaminant, 1,4-dioxane.

Entire Site In 2004, Merriam Manufacturing Company ceased monitoring and filtration activities in residential homes as required under State Order. CT DEP has since taken over this work.

Entire Site In September 2005, EPA finalized a Record of Decision for the Site, outlining a final cleanup remedy for the Site.

Merriam Manufacturing Company Study Area In 2006 and 2007, EPA conducted preliminary design sampling activities at the former location of Merriam Manufacturing, including soil and soil vapor sampling. Additionally, EPA installed and sampled shallow groundwater wells throughout the site area.

Durham Manufacturing Company Study Area In 2007, Durham Manufacturing Company began work on its own property under an Administrative Order. The work includes soil and groundwater sampling to support the remedy design, as well as the design and installation of a subslab depressurization system under the main manufacturing building to mitigate the potential threat of intrusion of contaminated vapors into the building.

Site-wide Groundwater Study Area In 2008, CT DEP provided a potable water grant to the Town of Durham to conduct an engineering study for the extension of a public water supply from the City of Middletown to the Town of Durham area that is currently and/or could become affected by site contamination.

Merriam Manufacturing Company Study Area In 2009-2010, EPA continued preliminary design sampling activities at/around the former location of Merriam Manufacturing to investigate the presence of lead in soil. Activities include soil and groundwater sampling.

Merriam Manufacturing Company Study Area In September 2010, EPA finalized the soil excavation remedy design for the Merriam Manufacturing Company Study Area.

Merriam Manufacturing Company Study Area In May 2011, EPA initiated on-site cleanup work at the Merriam Manufacturing Company Study Area. All contamination was substantively removed from the site by May 2012.

Site-wide Groundwater Study Areal In 2013, EPA initiated Remedial Design work for the extension of a public water supply from the City of Middletown to the Town of Durham to serve the Superfund site area.

Environmental Progress
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Installing carbon filters on drinking water wells, and removing some hazardous materials have reduced the potential for exposure to contaminants at the Durham Meadows site, making it safer while site studies are completed. Affected drinking water wells are monitored regularly by the companies and by the State of Connecticut. In 2011-2012, EPA implemented the soil excavation & off-site disposal remedy at the Merriam Manufacturing Company Study Area; removal of site contamination was substantively complete by May 2012.

Current Site Status
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This Site consists of groundwater contamination generally centering on Main Street in Durham, and surrounding industrial and residential properties in the area. In early 2004, EPA sampling detected a new contaminant, 1,4-dioxane, in a limited number of private wells. In June 2004, EPA and the State of Connecticut sampled over 70 private wells in the area in order to more fully characterize the extent of 1,4-dioxane, and results indicated that the compound was detected at approximately 22 locations. Carbon filters that are effective in removing other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the private wells do not appear to be as effective in removing 1,4-dioxane. The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection and Connecticut Department of Public Health are working to resample and address certain of the affected wells.

In June 2005, EPA finalized the Site-wide Baseline Human Health Risk Assessment, Remedial Investigation, Feasibility Study, and Technical Impracticability Evaluation reports. For the purposes of remedial investigation and remedy selection, the Site is divided into three Study Areas: the Merriam Manufacturing Company (MMC) Study Area, the Durham Manufacturing Company (DMC) Study Area, and the Site-wide Groundwater Study Area.

In July 2005, EPA issued a Proposed Plan, which identified alternative cleanup strategies and the preferred remedy for the Site. EPA accepted public comments on this Plan from July 13, 2005 to August 12, 2005.

On September 30, 2005, EPA finalized a Record of Decision for the Site, outlining the final cleanup remedy for the Site. The major components of this remedy are:

    • Soil excavation and off-site disposal, in conjunction with soil vapor extraction, at the MMC Study Area to address risks to human health from contamination in soil and soil vapor. Excavation of a localized area of surface soil contamination on an adjacent residential parcel will also occur.
    • Excavation and off-site disposal of soil hot spot areas at the DMC Study Area in order to address risks to human health from contamination in overburden (shallow) groundwater and to address source contamination.
    • Connection to the Middletown Water Distribution System to distribute an alternative source of public water to all residences currently affected by groundwater contamination and a buffer zone of residences located near the contaminated area. Development of and connection to a new groundwater source is retained as a contingency measure in the event that a connection to the City of Middletown Water Distribution System cannot be implemented for administrative or other reasons, or cannot be implemented in a timely manner. Also included is the interim measure of continued monitoring and filtration, and provision of bottled water as necessary, of impacted private (mostly residential) wells, and any other private wells within the Site-wide Groundwater Study Area that come to be impacted by Site-related contamination, as currently required under state order and state regulations, to ensure continued protectiveness of human health and the environment until construction of the alternate water supply portion of the remedy is complete and operational. This alternative addresses current and future risk to human health from ingestion of contaminated groundwater.
    • For the overall area of groundwater contamination, implementation of a monitoring network for the dissolved plume to ensure no migration of groundwater beyond its current general boundary.
    • Contingency to implement a groundwater extraction system for hydraulic containment if monitoring indicates that the overall plume or source zone is spreading or migrating beyond its current general boundary.
    • Implementation of a technical impracticability waiver of the applicable or relevant and appropriate requirements that would normally require cleanup of the groundwater, since it is not technically practicable to clean up the groundwater to drinking water and other standards in a reasonable amount of time.
    • Institutional controls, primarily in the form of Environmental Land Use Restrictions (ELURs) as defined in the Connecticut Remediation Standard Regulations (CT RSRs), and/or by local ordinance, in a variety of areas to prevent unrestricted future use of certain areas of the Site or use of contaminated groundwater.
    • Further delineation of areas posing potential indoor air risks on and outside of the MMC and DMC Study Areas by further characterization, including the collection of shallow groundwater data. If there are unacceptable risks, then further actions will be taken to address such risks, including without limitation, sub-slab depressurization systems and institutional controls on vacant properties or portions of properties, in accordance with EPA and Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (CT DEP) requirements.
    • Five-year reviews to ensure that the remedy continues to be protective of human health and the environment.

In April 2006, EPA sent letters to the potentially responsible parties inviting them to participate in formal negotiations with EPA, the United States Department of Justice, and the State of Connecticut in an effort to reach a settlement to conduct or finance the response action at the Site.

In June 2006, EPA began preliminary design work at the former location of Merriam Manufacturing Company to supplement previous investigative work done on the property and allow for a better design of the remedy. Work consisted primarily of sampling both soil and soil vapor. In July 2006, EPA also began investigations to determine the existence of shallow groundwater throughout the entire site, and whether any such shallow groundwater is contaminated to the extent that it may pose a risk to human health via potential vapor intrusion into nearby buildings. EPA installed and sampled 19 shallow groundwater wells site-wide in 2006-2007.

In July 2007, EPA began working with the Durham Manufacturing Company (DMC) to conduct certain work at the DMC Study Area. Under an Administrative Order, DMC is conducting soil and groundwater sampling at the DMC Study Area to support the remedial design of the excavation and off-site disposal of hot spot areas of soil contamination. DMC is also designing and installing a sub-slab depressurization system under the main manufacturing building at the DMC Study Are to mitigate the potential threat of the intrusion of contaminated vapors into the building.

In 2008, the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection provided a potable water grant to the Town of Durham for the purposes of conducting an engineering study for the extension of a public water supply to the area that is currently and/or could become affected by contaminants from the Superfund Site. The Town held a public hearing on November 12, 2008 to solicit public comments on the scope of the study and the Environmental Impact Evaluation to be conducted in conjunction with the engineering study. The studies were finalized in late 2010, and the Town held a public hearing to discuss the results of the studies on March 23, 2011. In December 2012, the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection issued notices regarding a public comment period for the Environmental Impact Evaluation; the public comment period runs through February 1, 2013.

In 2009-2010, EPA conducted additional preliminary design work at and around the former location of Merriam Manufacturing Company to further supplement previous investigative work on the property. Sampling results showed that most subsurface soil samples contained levels of total and leachable lead. In September 2010, EPA, in conjunction with CT DEP, finalized the design of the final remedy for the Merriam Manufacturing Company Study Area for soil excavation only. In September 2011, EPA issued an Explanation of Significant Differences indicating that the soil vapor extraction component of the remedy would not be implemented, identifying wetlands that would be impacted by the soil excavation, and making certain changes to institutional control and environmental monitoring provisions.

EPA began on-site cleanup work at the Merriam Manufacturing Company Study Area in May 2011. The warehouse building was demolished in June 2011 and soil excavation began in September 2011. Trucking of soils off-site began in late October. All soil excavation & off-site disposal was substantively complete in May 2012, and work on the grass cover was complete by the end of 2012.

In January 2012, the United States filed a Consent Decree (CD) in court that resolves EPA's enforcement efforts against Merriam Manufacturing Company, Aztec Industries, LLC, and the Estate of Allan Adams (collectively, the "Settling Defendants") under Section 107 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act ("CERCLA," the Superfund law). The U.S. Department of Justice published the CD for a 30-day public comment period in January 2012. Durham Manufacturing Company filed comments on the CD, as well as a Motion to Intervene in the proceeding. In May 2012, the United States filed a motion seeking the court's approval of the CD, and on January 15, 2013, the Court approved the CD. Because of the Settling Defendants' limited ability-to-pay, the CD allows the Defendants to satisfy their responsibilities solely through payments from insurance claims proceeds and the sale of real property at the Merriam Manufacturing portion of the Site. The Settling Defendants are also required to provide access and impose institutional controls on the properties at the MMC Study Area in order to ensure protectiveness of human health and the environment. The settlement takes into consideration an evaluation of public comments received on the proposed settlement.

On September 9, 2013, the United States lodged a Consent Decree (CD) in court that resolves claims of the United States against The Durham Manufacturing Company pursuant to Sections 106 and 107 of CERCLA. Under the CD, The Durham Manufacturing Company agrees to pay $2.9 million to the United States in reimbursement of past response costs, and additionally agrees to perform certain response actions at the Site, estimated to cost approximately $1.1 million. The Court approved the CD on November 12, 2013.

In 2013, EPA began Remedial Design work for the extension of a public water supply from the City of Middletown into the Town of Durham to service the Superfund site area. This area includes over 100 homes and businesses that are currently impacted by site contamination, as well as a buffer zone of homes surrounding the contamination. Throughout 2013, EPA's contractors conducted subsurface investigations, including drilling soil borings and taking samples, along the transmission route leading to and within the proposed service area to assess the condition of underlying soils. EPA's contractors also conducted subsurface investigations at the proposed location of a water tank in the City of Middletown. Contractors have conducted surveying at homes/businesses within the proposed service area to locate existing potable water wells, and will be conducting additional work to more precisely locate plumbing connections and septic systems. EPA expects all Remedial Design work to be complete in 2014. EPA hosted a public meeting to discuss this upcoming work, as well as the overall status of the Site and the water line project, on June 6, 2013 at Coginchaug Regional High School Auditorium in Durham, CT.

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  
Community Update: 1,4 - Dioxane, March 2004 (32KB)  
Community Update: 1,4 - Dioxane, June 2004 (388KB)  
Community Update: EPA to Evaluate Soil Gas and Indoor Air, April 2005   
Community Update: Environmental Field Work Scheduled this Summer, June 2006 (221 KB)  
Community Update: Environmental Field Work Scheduled this Summer, June 2009 (277 KB)  
Public Notice of Environmental Field Work Planned, June 2010 (214 KB)  
Fact Sheet: Cleanup Schedule and Public Meeting Date, February 1, 2011 (408 KB)  
Fact Sheet: Site Background and Cleanup Plan, January 23, 2012 (2.58 MB)  
Fact Sheet: Site Update, May 2013 (9.43 MB)  

Federal Register Notices:
Final NPL Listing  

Administrative Records:
Administrative Record Index, Record of Decision, September 2005 (133 KB)  
Administrative Record Index, Explanation of Significant Differences for the Merriam Manufacturing Company Study Area, September 2011 (282 KB)  

Reports and Studies:
Proposed Plan, July 2005 (87.9 MB)  

Decision Documents:
View Records of Decision (RODS) on-line (EPA HQ)  
Record of Decision, September 30, 2005  
Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD), September 13, 2011 (304 KB)  

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

Site Repositories
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Durham Public Library, 7 Maple Avenue, Durham CT 06422 (860)349-9544
Hours: Monday-Thursday 10am-9pm, Friday-Saturday 10am-5pm

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: Anni Loughlin
Address: US Environmental Protection Agency
5 Post Office Square, Suite 100
Mail Code: OSRR07-1
Boston, MA 02109-3912
Phone #: 617-918-1273
E-Mail Address: loughlin.anni@epa.gov

EPA Community Involvement Coordinator: Kate Renahan
Address: US Environmental Protection Agency
5 Post Office Square, Suite 100
Mail Code: ORA01-1
Boston, MA 02109-3912
Phone #: 617-918-1491
E-Mail Address: renahan.kate@epa.gov

State Agency Contact: Jing Chen
Address: Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection,
79 Elm Street,
Hartford, CT 06106-5127
Phone #: 860-424-3391
E-Mail Address: jing.chen@ct.gov

 


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Last updated on Thursday, November 14th, 2013
URL: http://www.epa.gov/region1/superfund/sites/durham