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United States Environmental Protection Agency
Waste Site Cleanup & Reuse in New England
  Serving Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont & 9 Tribal Nations
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 Site Type: Long Term/National Priorities List (NPL) Click to see more about Site Type and how it is used?


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 Saco,  Maine
 York County
 Street Address: Flag Pond Road
 Zip Code: 04072

 EPA ID #: MED980520241
 Site ID #: 0101014
 Site Aliases:

 Site Responsibility: Federal, State

 Proposed Date 12/30/1982
 Final Date 09/08/1983
  Deleted Date 09/29/1999

Site Description
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The 212-acre Saco Tannery Waste Pits site was operated from 1959 until 1981, when the Saco Tannery Corporation filed for bankruptcy and stopped site operations. The site was used as a disposal area for process wastes such as chromium sludges, acid wastes, methylene chloride, and caustic substances. More than 23 million gallons of wastes were deposited in two lagoons and 53 disposal pits. Several types of wastes were deposited in Chromium Lagoon 1 until 1968. Waste streams were separated, and Chromium Lagoon 2 was constructed in 1969 only for chromium and solid wastes. Smaller pits were built for acid wastes from the grease-rendering fleshing process and for caustic wastes from the patent leather process. The site is bordered by the Maine Turnpike, Flag Pond Road, residential property on Hearn Road, and the Scarborough town line. Access to the site is controlled by a fence along the Maine Turnpike and Flag Pond Road, with a locking gate at the entrance on Flag Pond Road. Groundwater is the source of drinking water for residents located south and west of the site. Approximately 20 residences are located within 1,000 feet of the site and 2,600 people live within a 3-mile radius of the site. Because the area is heavily wooded and is inhabited by a variety of wildlife, it is frequently used by hunters. The site is also used by snowmobilers in the winter.

Threats and Contaminants
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In isolated areas at the site, groundwater is contaminated with arsenic and chlorobenzene above drinking water standards. Sediments were contaminated with heavy metals. The soil was contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and heavy metals. Trespassers who came into direct contact with or accidentally ingested contaminated groundwater, soil, or sediment may have been at risk. The surrounding wildlife and the wetlands, which cover a large portion of the site, may have been at risk from the contamination.

Cleanup Approach
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Response Action Status
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Immediate Actions In 1983, the EPA removed corrosive liquid from three acid pits and disposed of it at a federally-approved facility. The EPA also neutralized the remaining sludge in the three pits with lime, covered them with caps, and erected a fence across the access road to the property.

Entire Site The EPA and the State of Maine conducted an investigation into the nature and extent of contamination at the site. The selected remedy for site cleanup includes: covering waste in disposal pits and lagoons with geotextile fabrics, stone, and 4 to 6 feet of soil; monitoring the groundwater to detect any continued contamination; and designation by the State legislature as a wildlife preserve, restricting development or disturbances of the soil. Contaminated sediments located beyond the waste pits were excavated and placed inside nearby pits prior to installation of the soil covers. Institutional controls to limit the use of land and groundwater were put into effect in late 1991. All construction activities for the remedy were completed in 1993. Groundwater monitoring has indicated that contamination is not migrating off site via the groundwater.

1998 Five-Year Review As required by the Superfund law, EPA performed a five-year review to assess the protectiveness of the remedy. The review concluded that the institutional controls served to prevent exposure to site groundwater; the soil covers were functioning as designed; and long-term monitoring affirmed that groundwater contamination was not migrating off site. However, as sediment sampling suggested contaminants may be migrating, further sediment sampling was recommended.

2003 Five-Year Review The second five-year review was completed in 2003 and concluded that the remedy was functioning as intended and that the remedy remained protective of human health and the environment.
EPA conducted an intensive sediment sampling effort after the first five-year review. Based on the results, EPA concluded the soil covers remained functional and no new seeps were identified. Further, it was concluded that the metal concentrations represented variations commonly associated with wetland areas. Based on these results, EPA determined no further remedial action was warranted.

2008 Five-Year Review The review concluded that the remedy is functioning as intended and the remedy remains protective. The soil cover portion of the remedy is complete and maintenance of the covers continues. Long-term monitoring of groundwater and sediment continues and affirms that contaminants are not migrating offsite. The institutional controls remain in effect and prevent exposure to site groundwater.

2014 Five-year Review The review concluded that the remedy is functioning as designed and the remedy remains protective. However the review noted ongoing vandalism of the interior site fencing and gates. Additionally, isolated elevated arsenic and chromium concentrations were detected in sediment. The review recommended partnering with local groups to resolve the vandalism issue and evaluate the sediment toxicity.

Long-Term Action In 1995, following the completion of the three-year maintenance period for the restored wetlands by EPA, Maine DEP became the lead agency for the site. Maine DEP performs the long-term monitoring of groundwater and sediment, and coordinates the maintenance of the site with the Financial Authority of Maine, the owner of the site.

Enforcement HighlightsWith the construction of the soil covers over the lagoons and pits, 10 acres of wetlands were permanently lost. To compensate for this loss, the EPA and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection agreed to purchase 247 acres of a unique ecological property 2 miles from the site. This approach to wetlands compensation was one of the first in the nation for Superfund. This approach was taken because there was no suitable area on site for creating new wetlands and the property purchased was threatened from mining operations.

Environmental Progress
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Construction of all cleanup remedies has been completed. The removal of liquid wastes, the neutralization of sludges, the capping of three pits, and institutional controls have reduced the potential of exposure to hazardous substances surrounding the acid pit areas, and have protected the public health and the environment at Saco Tannery Waste Pits site. The State of Maine has assumed operation & maintenance responsibilities for the site. EPA, after receiving comments from the State of Maine, deleted the site from the National Priorities List (NPL) on September 29, 1999.

Current Site Status
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All construction activities for the remedy were completed in 1993. Maine DEP assumed operations and maintenance responsibilities for this site in 1995. The site was deleted from the NPL in 1999. EPA has performed three five-year reviews since the deletion from the NPL and they have concluded that the remedy remains protective of human health and the environment. Maine DEP continues to perform the long-term monitoring and oversees site maintenance. EPA is scheduled to perform the next five-year review in 2019.

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  

Federal Register Notices:
Final NPL Listing  
Final NPL Deletion  

Administrative Records:
Administrative Record Index, OU 01 Record of Decision (ROD), September 27, 1989 (818 KB)  

Reports and Studies:
Five Year Review Report, December 31, 1998 (1771KB)  
Second Five Year Review Report, December 19, 2003 (3 MB)  
Site Reuse Profile, March 2005 (117KB)  
Third Five Year Review Report, December 30, 2008 (4.7 MB)  
Fourth Five-Year Review, September 23, 2014 (1.43 MB)  

Decision Documents:
View Records of Decision (RODS) on-line (EPA HQ)  
Institutional Controls at this Site  

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

Site Repositories
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Saco City Hall, 300 Main Street, Saco, ME 04072

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

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EPA Remedial Project Manager: Terry Connelly
Address: US Environmental Protection Agency
5 Post Office Sq., Suite 100
Mail Code: OSRR07-1
Boston, MA 02109-3912
Phone #: 617-918-1373
E-Mail Address: connelly.terry@epa.gov

EPA Community Involvement Coordinator: Sarah White
Address: US Environmental Protection Agency
5 Post Office Sq., Suite 100
Mail Code: ORA01-3
Boston, MA 02109-3912
Phone #: 617-918-1026
E-Mail Address: white.sarah@epa.gov


Serving Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, & 10 Tribal Nations
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Last updated on Wednesday, November 4th, 2015
URL: http://www.epa.gov/region1/superfund/sites/sacotannery