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EPA: Danbury, Conn. Company Agrees to Cleanup Former Plating Site

Release Date: 10/02/2003
Contact Information: Alice Kaufman, EPA Community Involvement Office, 617-918-1064

BOSTON - Fairway Asset Management of Danbury, Connecticut agreed to cleanup groundwater contamination at the former Medallic Art plating facility in Danbury, the Environmental Protection Agency announced today. Fairway purchased the 9.5 acre facility on Old Ridgebury Road in 1997 after its owner filed for bankruptcy.

From 1972 until it was abandoned in 1991, Medallic Art manufactured medals and awards including the Pulitzer Prize, the Congressional Medal of Honor and the President's Medal of Freedom. The company used copper, bronze, silver, gold and nickel in its plating operations and routinely discharged hazardous wastes to soil and groundwater.

"Fairway has proven to be a cooperative partner," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA's New England office. "This consent agreement lays out a cleanup strategy that will hasten the reuse of the property. Everyone benefits when abandoned facilities are returned to productive use and I commend them for their effort."

Under the order, Fairway Asset Management agrees to:

    • Evaluate and monitor site conditions;
    • Create a detailed plan for cleaning up the site, including the measures that will be taken to address any release of hazardous substances while cleanup is taking place;
    • Keep the community and its residents informed throughout the cleanup;
    • Close the former surface impoundment (an area formerly used for the disposal of hazardous waste) according to Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection requirements;
    • Design, operate and maintain a groundwater treatment system to minimize and control the migration of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) into the aquifer lying underneath the site.
Fairway completed a number of important interim measures, including installation of a water line to supply residents of nearby Maple Glen Trailer Park with safe drinking water. The company spent approximately $100,000 for the water line.

In 2000, with help from Danbury officials, EPA sampled nine wells in a two mile radius of the facility and found perchloroethylene (PCE) and MTBE in the drinking water well that served residents in the nearby Maple Glen Trailer Park, confirming that contaminants from the facility were migrating from the aquifer beyond the facility's boundaries.

Fairway has renovated the 45,000 square foot facility, and has reached an agreement with the current tenant, Bellimo, to construct an additional 45,000 square foot building on site to increase the facility's manufacturing capacity. Bellimo builds air pollution control devices. Additionally, Fairway has developed an abutting property to house an Airborne Express facility.

Under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Corrective Action Program, facilities are able to voluntarily meet environmental goals. However, when facilities fail to comply with the elements of the voluntary program, they can be subject to an EPA order to complete the remedial work. Although Fairway Asset Management has implemented some of the requirements of the Voluntary Corrective Action program, not all requirements were met. These have been captured in the order, called an Administrative Order on Consent, which was negotiated between EPA and the party.

There are approximately 150 sites subject to RCRA Corrective Action in Connecticut.