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Cleanup Complete at St. Germain Drum Site

Release Date: 08/07/2002
Contact Information: Alice Kaufman, EPA Press Office, 617-918-1064

BOSTON - Zeneca Inc. has completed a $12 million cleanup at the St. Germain Drum Site in Taunton, Massachusetts, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said today. The work was performed under a consent agreement with EPA in which Zeneca Inc. hired a contractor to excavate buried drums on the property that contained chemicals, and properly dispose of them at a licensed facility. The deteriorated drums contained volatile organic chemicals, such as toluene, acetone, chlorobenzene, naphthalene, and 1,2,4 trichlorobenzene.

All together, 2,573 drums were excavated, 11,407 tons of contaminated soil and sheared drums were shipped off site for disposal, and a total of 194,119 gallons of groundwater was treated on site. To date Zeneca spent nearly $12 million for the cleanup. In the early phases of the cleanup work, EPA incurred expenses of $777,000.

"This site is an example of Superfund at its best," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA New England. "Zeneca, who originally produced some of the waste, is footing the bill for the cleanup. This is the way it should work, rather than spending taxpayer's dollars. Things have gone very smoothly with Zeneca throughout this cleanup."

From the 1950s to the 1970s, St. Germain and Son, a waste hauling business-owned and operated by David W. St. Germain, Jr., transported and disposed of drums of hazardous substances for a number of companies and concerns in the Taunton area. St. Germain and Son removed and disposed of drums of hazardous substances and other materials at the site, including drums from an ICI Americas, Inc. facility located in Dighton, Massachusetts.

For at least 35 years, Mr. St. Germain buried the drums in excavated ditches at the site. The drums were eventually covered with soil, or used as fill in low spots at the site, and later covered with soil.

ICI manufactured dyestuffs and other proprietary products, including Halothane, and other specialty chemicals at its Dighton facility. December 1992, Zeneca Inc. took over operations of ICI, and in 1993 began to phase down the Dighton facility.

The St. Germain Drum Site is approximately 6 acres of flat land, generally free of trees and brush. An unnamed brook runs through the property and drains into the Three Mile River approximately 1,000 feet to the north.