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Design and Construction of Remedy to Begin at Former Pharmacia and Upjohn Facility in North Haven, Conn.

Release Date: 04/08/2011
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – April 8, 2011) – Cleanup and construction work expected to cost $150 million has begun at the former Pharmacia & Upjohn manufacturing facility located at 41 Stiles Lane in North Haven, Conn. 

The work, spelled out in an updated agreement between Pharmacia & Upjohn Co. LLC and EPA, will allow the contaminated site to be developed and restored for use as open space and light industry or commerce.  Pfizer Inc., Pharmacia & Upjohn’s parent company, will provide financial assurance for the cleanup.

The 78-acre site has a long history of industrial use, but all manufacturing stopped in 1993. The site-wide remedy allows for future redevelopment of 17 acres of the property’s west side for commercial or light industrial use; the restoration of more than 60 acres of wetlands and meadow habitat along the Quinnipiac River; and walking trails for guided viewing and interpretative environmental education.

The agreement also involves:
- Installing a subsurface barrier wall and continuing to extract and treat groundwater to prevent contaminated groundwater from reaching the Quinnipiac River;
- Treating the most concentrated area of contamination on the site, using a heat process to remove the primary source of groundwater contamination;
- Constructing barrier covers in several areas;
- Putting in place land use restrictions;
- Removing sediment from two areas of the Quinnipiac River tidal mud flats and from a small stretch of South Creek to minimize damage to the habitat;
- Long-term operation, monitoring, and maintenance of the remedy to verify that the public and environment are protected into the future.

“We’re glad to be reaching this stage at one of the region’s biggest RCRA Corrective Action sites,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office.  “To get to this point took a lot of effort and cooperation from many stakeholders, including Pfizer, CT DEP, the town, community groups, and EPA.”  

EPA’s New England office held a public hearing in North Haven on Aug. 4, 2010 and approved a final cleanup plan on Sept. 10, 2010. The Connecticut Dept. of Environmental Protection and a citizen’s advisory panel also supported the plan.

Prior owners of the property manufactured products used in dyes and pigments; photographic chemicals; sunscreen agents; additives for soaps, perfumes and cosmetics; agricultural herbicides; pharmaceuticals and photo-initiators. The facility became contaminated through historical releases of manufacturing wastes and wastewater treatment residuals. Significant contaminants include several different types of organic chemicals and metals, including, among others, PCBs, volatile organic compounds, and lead.

In 1989, EPA’s New England office ordered Upjohn to assess the nature and scope of contamination at the site. That order, under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, has been fulfilled. In 1994, EPA ordered the company to continue to enhance interim remedial measures, assess site risk, and evaluate remedial alternatives. The updated consent order, signed on March 31, 2011, requires the company to put in place the $150 million cleanup plan.

Over the past two decades, significant interim measures have been carried out, including installation of a state-of-the-art groundwater recovery and treatment system; decontamination and removal of above-ground structures; soil and sludge capping; and site security.

On April 16, 2003, Pfizer Inc acquired Pharmacia Corp. and assumed responsibility for the Upjohn Site. Pfizer has fully cooperated with EPA and DEP to investigate and remediate the site. Engineering design and construction of the remedy is expected to take several years, after which the parties expect the site to enter into the long-term maintenance phase under terms set out in a DEP permit.

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04/11/11 - Editor's Note: added "2011" to date in 8th paragraph. Now reads "March 31, 2011"