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Release Date: 07/23/1996
Contact Information: Dan Burke, On-Scene Coordinator; (617) 573-9626 Nancy Cronin, Community Involvement; (617) 565-9445

BOSTON -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that field teams have completed the clean up of more than 200 barrels of improperly stored drums, tanks, and other containers filled with flammable solvents, corrosives, poisons and waste oil at a former metal working company in Smithfield, R.I.

Over the past three months, EPA staff sampled, identified, removed and transported thousands of gallons of hazardous waste from the New England Precision Products (NEPP) on 331 Farnum Pike Road to a facility for recycling or treatment. Conditions at the site posed a threat to the local community and nearby natural resources.

"The people of Smithfield can take comfort in knowing that their community is safe from the toxic threat once posed by the New England Precision Products site," said John P. DeVillars, administrator of the EPA's New England office. "This cleanup protects both the public health of residents near Farnum Pike Road and natural resources like the Still Water Reservoir. EPA is proud to have worked with the State of Rhode Island to make this important cleanup a success. It's my hope to see this site put back into productive commercial use, helping to drive the economy of Smithfield."

Incompatible substances on the property, if mingled, could have caused a fire that would release toxic fumes into the air. Also, local residents were at risk in coming in contact with the many improperly stored drums outside the facility. Finally, an uncontrollable release of the hazardous liquids could have contaminated nearby waterways, including the Still Water Reservoir, which is used for fishing and recreation.

The site is the former location of D&S Screw, a metal working company, which manufactured screw products from 1972-1985 in a mixed residential and light industrial area. In 1981, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) discovered that D&S Screw was pouring trichloroethylene (TCE) -- a man-made toxic material used mainly as a solvent to remove oils and grease from metal parts -- into the ground. The TCE entered the drinking water supply, causing RIDEM to close private wells in the area. Alternative drinking water from the Scituate Reservoir has since been piped to local residences and businesses.

In 1985 D&S Screw sold the company to Joe Boscia of NEPP, who continued to use the property as a metal working company. In June 1994, the state ordered NEPP to investigate the past spills and comply with hazardous waste handling procedures. The order also required NEPP to stop all solid waste management operations at the site and install wells to monitor the groundwater.

Following RIDEM's discovery of toxic materials at the site, NEPP was ordered to identify all contents of the drums and move them safely inside the facility. NEPP did not comply with the order.

In February 1996, RIDEM referred the site to the EPA as a potential Superfund removal site. The two agencies then launched an investigation at the site that revealed numerous unidentified barrels of waste inside the inactive facility and outside on the loading dock.

The EPA is in the process of recovering the $30,000 in costs it had spent on the cleanup from the site's owner, Joseph Boscia. The site is currently up for sale for commercial use.