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Waste Site Cleanup & Reuse in New England
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South Paris,  Maine
Oxford County
Street Address: Oxford Street South Paris, ME 04281
Zip Code: 04281

EPA ID #: MEN000105093
Site ID #:
Site Alias:

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A Removal Site Evaluation was peformed in September 2003 and a report submitted in February 2004. It consisted of a Site Investigation (SI) conducted on September 11-12, 2003, file review, interviews with Maine Department of Environmental Protection (MEDEP) and Town Officials and review of MEDEP generated data. The Removal Site Evaluation has led to the determination that a Time-Critical Removal Action is appropriate.

The findings of the Removal Site Evaluation are as follows:

1. Property Description and Site Facts:

• The seven acre site is known as lot 7 on Paris, Maine Property Map R2. It is bounded by Oxford Street on the west, the Little Androscoggin River on the north and west, by a railroad right of way on the west and by lot 8 on the south which has been cleared for residential development.

• The former sludge lagoons were used to receive and filter company tannery wastes from an indeterminate time prior to 1952 until circa 1973-74 when wastes were discharged to the then newly constructed South Paris public owned treatment works (POTW). At that time, all remaining sludge was were reportedly removed from the lagoons, placed into a nearby landfill which was later capped under state regulations and the site backfilled with clean fill.

• The sludge lagoons area is generally flat and about 10-20 feet above the river level with steep slopes to the river bank which varies from about 5' wide in the north to up to about 50' wide in the southwest of the site. The stream bank area includes an additional depositional gravel bar of about 50' in diameter in the middle river reach of the site. The river level was considered low at the time of the SI; at high water level the gravel bar is likely submerged. There are two surface drainage channels; a “feeder” channel running WSW-ENE and a “main” channel running N-S. Both were dry at the time of the Site Investigation. (Please see site diagram).

• The surrounding area is primarily wooded. A residential development is planned immediately south of the site (earthmoving has been the only activity to date) and the nearest existing residences are approximately 2000 feet northeast of the site along Oxford Street. The land use across the river is industrial/commercial.

• The tannery facility was across the river, to the north of the site, in lot 1 of Paris, Maine Tax Map U4. It ceased operation as a tannery circa 1985; the company later sold the parcel and it is now a trucking warehouse.

• Circa 2000 the Town and/or MEDEP received a complaint about a “green ooze” on the riverbank and/or discharging to the river. Subsequently MEDEP has performed several rounds of hand auger sampling of soils for metals and installed several piezometers and sampled the groundwater for metals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

2. Source and nature of the release or threat of release: The primary issue at the site is chromium buried at depth in the sludge lagoon area and it’s release to the riverbank and river via erosion and possibly groundwater infiltration

• MEDEP sampling has confirmed a widespread layer of chromium sludge approximately 2 Ā½ feet below ground surface across the site despite the reported removal and clean backfill circa 1973-74. Chromium concentrations in this layer are elevated and range up to 78,000 to 130,000 ppm.

• MEDEP groundwater sampling has confirmed VOCs and a faint scent of solvent is still discernable in the vicinity of PZ-1.

• EPA sampling confirmed widespread chromium contamination in soils along the riverbank from 23 to 48,000 ppm with most samples above 5,000 ppm. Chromium was also detected in the river sediments from 24 to 200 ppm.

• EPA sampling confirmed two specific VOCs in river surface water that MEDEP detected in groundwater at PZ-1.

• Visual inspection of the river bank area found exposed chromium sludges on the eroded upper river bank (berm of the sludge beds). This river will continue to further erode the river bank on the northern part of the reach during high water events due to the sharp 90 degree turn.

Current Status
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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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AmyJean McKeown
On-Scene Coordinator
Address: USEPA REGION 1 - New England
5 Post Office Square
Mail Code: OSRR07-3
Boston, MA 02109-3912
Phone #:617-918-1248
E-Mail Address:mckeown.amyjean@epa.gov


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Last updated on Thursday, June 23rd, 2011
Fact Sheet accessed from: http://www.epa.gov/region1/superfund/sites