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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: Short Term/Removal (SHORT) Click to see more about Site Type and how it is used?


Merrimac,  Massachusetts
Essex County
Street Address: 2 Little's Court
Zip Code: 01860

EPA ID #: MAD04944237
Site ID #: 0103199
Site Alias:

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The Coastal Metal Finishing Inc. (CMF) site is an inactive metal finishing facility that has not operated since before early 2002. The owner/operator has placed the business in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The site consists of an approximately 32,000 square foot single story, double height industrial warehouse with an attached two-story office located on a 1.3 +/- acre site. The property is located in a dense residential area, surrounded by single and multi-family homes. To the north are a security fence and single family homes; to the south are large homes that have been converted to multi-family apartments; to the east are two single family homes; and to the west are single family homes and a small wooded area. A restaurant and a bakery are located to the southeast. In February 2003, EPA's On-Scene Coordinator (OSC) and contractors conducted a preliminary investigation at the Coastal Metals Finishing Inc. facility in Merrimac, MA.

The site was referred to the EPA in February 2002 by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). At that time, the OSC performed a site visit with the property owner, the local fire department and other local officials. A site walk-through indicated that though operations had ceased, the owner was maintaining the integrity of the building and performing maintenance on the plating lines to prevent any accidental release. Heat, utilities and fire suppression were in place, however, the town of Merrimac Sewer Department had sealed off the discharge from the water treatment to the town sewer system. Further discussions with the town Finance Director and the property owner revealed that the property was to be auctioned in the next few weeks. Over the next 12 months, the OSC maintained contact with the owner and the town finance director to follow up on the status of the property sale and the condition of the building. On February 10, 2003, in a conversations with the Finance Director and the Fire Chief, the OSC learned that the building no longer had utilities, heat or fire suppression. In a subsequent discussion with the property owner, the PA/SI was scheduled.

Although the plating lines have been inactive for over 12 months, the plating baths, water treatment system and sludge dewatering system still contained product and/or hazardous waste. Until early 2003, the property owner/operator had continued to maintain the facility, keeping the heat on and performing minimal maintenance. Since that time, there has been no electricity, heat or fire suppression in the building. The roof was found to be leaking in several locations, including over the main plating line. Samples were collected from six plating baths and delivered to the EPA New England Regional Laboratory in Chelmsford, MA to be analyzed for total metals, cyanide and pH. Preliminary results indicated up to 1% cyanide in two samples and pH ranging from extremely caustic (pH 13) to extremely acidic (pH 0). Approximately 110 plating baths in three plating areas- precious metals, chromate plating and zinc plating, were observed during the investigation. A chemical storage area contained product stored in fiber drums, metal drums, paper sacks and small containers. Acids and bases were stored within inches of each other. A locked cage contained several hundred pounds of cyanide. At the time of the assessment, two exterior doors were found unlocked and a garage bay door had been breached by snow falling from of the roof. Evidence of trespass included broken windows, discarded alcohol containers and drug-use paraphernalia.

Current Status
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On February 13, 2003, EPA signed an Action Memorandum authorizing a short-term cleanup (a time-critical removal action) at the site, including the following steps: (1) Secure the site perimeter and building interior from access by trespassers; (2) Stabilize the building interior; provide utilities and heat; (3) Mobilize appropriate personnel, equipment, expendables, and supplies; (4) Establish and maintain a command post at the Site, including an office trailer, safety equipment, office equipment, portable restrooms, and utilities; (5) Consolidate, transport and dispose of plating baths solutions, plating bath sludge, drums and other containers of hazardous material using appropriate environmental controls. (6) Provide health and safety personal air monitoring; (6) Arrange disposal of all cleanup-derived waste streams, including spent PPE; (7) All hazardous waste will be disposed of by EPA approved methods or in EPA approved facilities.

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Links to Other Information
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Disclaimer Instructions about PDF

Press Release Announcing Start of Removal Action, April 7, 2003  

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: USEPA, One Congress Street, Suite 1100
Boston, MA 02114-2023
Phone #:617-918-1230
E-Mail Address:bazenas.ted@epa.gov


Serving Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, & 10 Tribal Nations
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Last updated on Wednesday, April 9th, 2003
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