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EPA Continues to Address Mercury Contamination on Putnam Road in Killingly, Conn.

Release Date: 04/04/2007
Contact Information: David Deegan - (617) 918-1017

(Killingly, Conn. – April 4, 2007) – EPA response workers continue to work closely with the Conn. Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP), Conn. Dept. of Public Health (DPH) and the Northeast District Dept. of Health to address mercury contamination discovered on Putnam Road in Killingly.


    Over the weekend, EPA completed a preliminary investigation of the site which included drilling test holes into the pavement and surrounding soil to determine whether the mercury contaminated soils were limited to those in the immediate vicinity of the area initially addressed by DEP. EPA also conducted additional air monitoring at homes located near the site. The residential home monitoring did not indicate the presence of mercury.

    EPA’s investigation of Putnam Road has focused on the area immediately surrounding the 8 x 1 foot area where the mercury pool had been spotted. Investigations revealed that the impacted area is limited to the immediate vicinity; however, the source of the spill has not been identified. Over the next several days, EPA will pull up the roadway in sections and use a small excavator to carefully scrape the soil from the ground beneath the road. Approximately 15 yards of contaminated soil will be removed and transported off-site for disposal.

    "As we continue with our work to remove the mercury contamination, EPA's top priority is to ensure that we are protecting the health of people living in the surrounding area," said Dan Wainberg, EPA’s On Scene Coordinator overseeing the response operations.

    During the excavation activities, EPA is working with the local public health department to ensure that public health is being protected by monitoring the air to ensure that people are not being exposed to traces of mercury vapor. The work is anticipated to take through this week to complete. Once EPA’s work is completed, the town will repair the road. While the work is underway, the road will be closed and 24-hour security will remain in place at the site.

    “We are encouraged that water and air sample results continue to return within normal limits,” commented Linda J. Colangelo, Public Information Officer for the Northeast District Department of Health. “We will continue to provide updates and appreciate the public’s cooperation to avoid the site while the investigation is on-going.”

    With regard to the start of the fishing season on April 21st, DEP and DPH continue to evaluate whether portions of the Five Mile River and its tributaries will need to remain closed to fishing. More information will be available in the coming days. In the meantime, people should avoid this area while the investigation continues.
    Elemental mercury is a liquid form heavier than water; two tablespoons weigh about one pound.

    More information:
    EPA's mercury spill advice (epa.gov/epaoswer/hazwaste/mercury/faq/spills.htm)

    Northeast District Department of Health – Linda J. Colangelo, (860) 774-7350 x 14
    Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection – Dwayne Gardner, (860) 424-3938