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EPA Completes Cleanup at Williamstown, Mass. Site

Release Date: 11/29/2005
Contact Information:

Contact: David Deegan (, EPA Office of Public Affairs, (617) 918-1017

For Immediate Release: November 29, 2005; Release # dd051113

(Boston) - After removing more than 1,700 tons of debris containing asbestos from an abandoned mill complex, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has completed the cleanup work at the Photech site in Williamstown, Mass. EPA's work included the safe removal of contaminated materials, followed by off-site transport for proper disposal.

EPA oversaw the removal of asbestos-containing material from the multi-story building by carefully demolishing the already partially collapsed center portion of the mill building. As part of the cleanup, 1,782 tons of the contaminated debris were removed from the building and shipped off-site for disposal at a licensed facility. In addition, 243 tons of scrap metal were transported off-site for recycling. Brick from the razed portions of the mill complex was used to backfill the open basement area where the mill building previously stood. After backfilling the area with the masonry debris, EPA placed six inches of clean fill over the brick, graded the area, and re-established or installed erosion control fence along the riverbank.

Originally built in the mid 1800’s, the mill was used for various operations, including a textile mill and a paper mill. Most recently, it was the site of Photech, Inc., which manufactured photographic film and paper until 1990 when the site was abandoned.

In 1997, EPA oversaw the removal of hazardous materials from inside the building, including 118 tons of sludge and lab materials, 500 drums, and 40 cubic yards of asbestos. In 2002, the town of Williamstown oversaw the removal of additional asbestos contaminated materials from the northern and southern sections of the mill complex. In addition, the town removed metals-contaminated soils from the property, stabilized the riverbank, and took measures to restrict access to the building.

Related Information:
Cleanup Process
Cleanup in New England