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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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WINDHAM,  Connecticut
Street Address: 322 MAIN STREET
Zip Code: 06226

EPA ID #: CTD001147834
Site ID #: 0100034
Site Alias:

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The American Thread Company (ATC) property is located at 322 Main Street in Windham, Windham County, Connecticut. The 60- to 80-acre property has been divided into two 30- to 40-acre parcels, one of which is bisected by the Willimantic River. A complex of mill buildings, constructed in the late 19th and early 20th century, are located in the portion of the property near the Willimantic River. The ATC property is bordered by Main Street to the north, South Main Street to the west, the Shetucket River to the east, and the Providence & Worcester Railroad to the south.

As early as 1875, the ATC property was used for textile manufacture by the Willimantic Linen Company. From 1898 to 1985, ATC manufactured thread, string, yard, and other textile products on the property, using spinning, twisting, dyeing, and finishing processes. During this period, ATC generated wastewaters (which were disposed of directly to the Willimantic River) and ink and dye waste (which were subsequently discovered buried in drums on portions of the property). ATC reportedly also disposed of waste solvents in a “plant waste well dump.” The wastes generated by ATC included chlorinated solvents (including 1,1,1-trichloroethane and methylene chloride), non-chlorinated solvents (including alcohols, mineral spirits, petroleum naphtha, petroleum ether, and acetone), ignitables, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs, in on-site electrical transformers), waste oil, corrosives (including acetic acid and sodium hydroxide), chlorine gas, sodium hydrosulfate, sodium hypochlorite, printing inks, and hydrogen peroxide.

By 1986, ATC had ceased operations on the property, and sold roughly half of the property to Eastern Connecticut Industrial Park Associates, which, subsequently sold a large portion of the property located south of the Willimantic River to private individuals. ATC Partnership retained ownership of the remainder of the property until 1984, when the Town of Windham took possession of the property using condemnation proceedings and transferred ownership to the Windham Mills Development Corporation. Since 1986, the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (CT DEP), has worked with the owners of the ATC property to remediate the property under Connecticut’s Property Transfer Act.

In 1983, a contractor for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) completed a Preliminary Assessment of the ATC property; in 1991, CT DEP completed a Site Inspection of the ATC property; and in 1996, CT DEP completed a Site Inspection Prioritization of the ATC property. Additional investigations have been performed by private contractors to ATC and other property owners, including a 1985 Phase I Transfer Act Site Assessment; a 1986 Groundwater Monitoring Program to meet the requirements of a CT DEP/ATC Consent Order; and a subsequent Phase II/III Investigation. Under the CT DEP’s Urban Sites Program, the ATC property is undergoing remedial activities, with funding coming from the Connecticut State Parks Program and the CT DEP Urban Sites Program. Five source areas have been identified on the ATC property: the drum storage area, miscellaneous drums, excavated soil, tanks and non-drum containers, and contaminated soil. Soil samples collected from the ATC property indicated that semivolatile organic compounds (SVOCs), cadmium, lead, selenium, and PCBs were present in soil at the ATC property.

The depth to groundwater in overburden is less than 10 feet below ground surface and groundwater flow direction beneath the ATC property is toward the Willimantic River. The nearest private groundwater supply is estimated to be located between 0.5 and 1 mile from the ATC property. The nearest public groundwater supply is located approximately 0.75 miles east of the ATC property. An estimated 26,174 people rely on groundwater sources located within 4-radial miles of the ATC property for drinking water. Numerous monitoring wells are located on the property. Groundwater samples have been collected from the ATC property which document contamination with antimony and lead.

The ATC property is located within the 100-year floodplain of the Willimantic River. Runoff from the ATC property enters the Willimantic River. The Willimantic River flows to the Shetucket River, and then to the Thames River. No surface water intakes are located downstream of the ATC property. Recreational fisheries are located downstream of the ATC property. Habitats for State-protected species and wetlands occur within the 15-mile surface water pathway. Surface water and sediment samples have been collected downstream of the ATC property, which document contamination with volatile organic compounds (acetone, benzene, toluene, styrene, and naphthalene), SVOCs, and metals (aluminum, antimony, arsenic, lead, and manganese).

An estimated 100 workers are present on the ATC property. Access to the property is not restricted by fences and gates. The nearest residence to the ATC property is located within 0.25 miles of the ATC property. An estimated 8,365 people live within 1-radial mile of the property. Shallow soil samples collected on the ATC property document the presence of hazardous substances (SVOCs, cadmium, lead, selenium, and PCBs) in soils on the property.

An estimated 33,548 people live within 4-radial miles of the former ATC property. Habitats for 18 species with Federal-or State-protection status and numerous wetlands are located within 4-radial miles of the ATC property. No complaints of air releases from the ATC property were found in available files.

In 1993, the redevelopment of the American Thread property was initiated and is currently referred as the Windham Mills Technology Center and State Heritage Park (Windham Mills) project. A non-profit organization, Windham Mills Development Corporation (WMDC), was formed to manage the Windham Mills project. The seven building main mill complex is being redeveloped in an east to west pattern. The redevelopment of the main mill complex included significant environmental remediation which comprised of soil remediation, underground storage tank (UST) removals, asbestos and lead abatements, and chemical and transformer removals. In September of 1996, the CTDEP provided $975,000 under the state Brownfields Program to fund the remediation of this property. WMDC has also secured several grants and loans from the CT DECD and private entities to further fund the redevelopment of Windham Mills. WMDC has indicated that their goal in undertaking this project is to provide jobs and a tax base to a Connecticut “Distressed Community.” According to WMDC, the project has completed the renovation and occupancy of one building and the occupancy of approximately half of an additional building. The project continues to depend on federal, state, and local funding and will not generate enough income from the tenants to be self-sustaining for some time.

The site consists of Building No. 4 and its immediate area only, which is located southeast of the main mill buildings on the opposite side of the river. Building No. 4 was destroyed by fire in June 1995 leaving only burnt rubble with no standing walls, excluding the boiler room. Located within the footprint of Building No.4 are burned timbers, rusted piping, roofing tiles, and miscellaneous piles of concrete/metal debris. There are two former transformer houses located on the property, one is adjacent to the boiler room of Building No. 4, and the other is approximately 20 feet from the southwestern corner of the building. An asbestos-covered pipe, measuring approximately 1,000 linear feet, running along the northern side of the access road is raised approximately 15 ft over the access road. The pipe ends within the footprint of the building. The origin of the pipe is from a concrete slab located across the access road from the boiler. The pipe continues along the northern border of the site, across the Willimantic River towards the main mill complex. The pipe is now inactive. Active railroad tracks run along the southern perimeter of the site.

Current Status
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In June 2002, EPA signed an "Action Memorandum" to perform a short-term cleanup (or "Removal Action") at the site. Removal activities include removal and disposal of PCB contaminated surficial soils and the removal and disposal of asbestos containing material. The process shall include provisions for on site decontamination of larger debris, and segregation of asbestos-free debris from the site. Asbestos material and asbestos contaminated debris will be collected, consolidated, documented, and shipped off site for disposal at EPA-approved facilities.

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Links to Other Information
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Disclaimer Instructions about PDF

Public Record Locations
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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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On-Scene Coordinator
Address: One Congress Street, Suite 1100 (HBR)
Phone #:617-918-1254
E-Mail Address:chau.wing@epa.gov


Serving Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, & 10 Tribal Nations
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Last updated on Monday, July 15th, 2002
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