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Release Date: 07/03/1996
Contact Information: Frank Gardner, EPA On-Scene Coordinator; (617) 573-5722 Liza Judge, EPA Community Relations; (617) 918-1067 Mohamed Deria, Connecticut DEP Sanitary Engineer; (860) 424-3273

BOSTON--A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency cleanup team has completed the safe removal of deteriorating drums of waste, vats of chemicals, and other hazards at the former Inter Royal facility in Plainfield, Conn.

Waste found at the site included acids, caustic solutions, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), waste paints, thinners, solvents, and cyanides. Many of these chemicals were capable of causing fire or explosion if combined. Given that the abandoned building is greatly deteriorated and without fire protection, these chemicals posed a danger to firefighters, nearby residents and the environment.

"One million dollars and a lot of sweat later, the community has been relieved of this toxic threat," said John P. DeVillars, administrator of EPA's New England office. "A disaster in the making has been averted. This was not an easy cleanup and it required a great deal of assistance from local and state officials. EPA is proud to have been of service to the community of Plainfield."

Using approximately $1 million in federal Superfund monies, a cleanup crew collected, sampled, repackaged and removed the hazardous wastes from the site for legal disposal. Beginning last fall, the cleanup team safely removed four tank trucks of liquid wastes, more than 600 drums and nearly 2,000 small containers full of chemicals for off-site treatment or disposal. EPA tested the air quality during the cleanup to ensure that no hazardous chemicals were released. DEP and the Town of Plainfield provided technical and logistical assistance throughout the cleanup.

Referring to length of time the facility has been abandoned, the Town of Plainfield First Selectmen Paul Sweet said "It's been six long years. I'm very happy. The cleanup was handled with great professionalism, and clearly the town has avoided an environmental disaster. We are grateful."

"Abandoned buildings with hazardous wastes present a real threat to the public and the environment," said Sidney J. Holbrook, DEP Commissioner. "Removing these wastes eliminates the potential for a release or fire that would endanger the nearby community. We commend EPA for the comprehensive manner in which the cleanup was undertaken and completed.

After hearing concerns from local officials, the Connecticut DEP requested assistance from EPA last summer in responding to unsafe conditions at the facility. EPA inspected the site shortly thereafter and found hundreds of drums and smaller containers and over 60 large chemical vats. The lack of heat in the building and the presence of broken windows and a leaking roof exposed these deteriorating containers to the elements, increasing the likelihood of a release of dangerous chemicals and vapors.

This concludes EPA's involvement with the site. Any additional environmental issues at the site may be coordinated with the Connecticut DEP.

The one million square-foot Inter Royal building is a prominent feature in Plainfield. The multi-story brick and wood mill building was built at the turn of the century and has been used for the manufacture of fabrics, military supplies (during World War II), and furniture. Inter Royal manufactured hospital and office furniture here until the plant shut down in the early 1980s and was abandoned approximately six years ago as a result of bankruptcy.