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EPA Approves Cleanup Plan for Durham Meadows Superfund Site

Release Date: 10/12/2005
Contact Information:

Contact: Sheryl Rosner (, EPA Office of Public Affairs, (617) 918-1865

For Immediate Release: October 12, 2005; Release # sr051008

Contact: Sheryl Rosner, Public Affairs, (617) 918-1865

BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved a comprehensive cleanup plan to address contamination at the Durham Meadows Superfund Site which includes the Durham Manufacturing Company facility and the former Merriam Manufacturing Company facility, both located on Main Street in Durham, Connecticut.

EPA finalized the plan in a document called the Record of Decision (ROD) on September 30, 2005.

"This comprehensive plan demonstrates EPA's commitment to protecting the health and welfare of the citizens of Durham,"said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England Office. “We were very pleased at the high degree of support for the plan expressed by the community and local officials. In the coming months we will focus our efforts on finalizing the specific details of the cleanup plan and getting the work started as soon as possible.”

The cleanup plan selected by EPA is projected to cost approximately $12.8 million and addresses shallow groundwater contamination at the Durham Manufacturing Company facility, soil and soil vapor contamination at the former Merriam Manufacturing Company facility, and groundwater contamination along Main Street in the vicinity of the two facilities. The Record of Decision, which did not change significantly from the cleanup plan proposed by EPA in July 2005, includes the following major components:

    • Soil excavation and off-site disposal, in conjunction with soil vapor extraction, at the Merriam Manufacturing Company Study Area to address risks to human health from contamination in soil and soil vapor. Excavation of a localized area of surface soil contamination on an adjacent residential parcel will also occur.
    • Excavation and off-site disposal of soil hot spot areas at the Durham Manufacturing Company Study Area in order to address risks to human health from contamination in overburden (shallow) groundwater and to address source contamination.
    • Connection to the Middletown Water Distribution System to distribute an alternative source of public water to all residences currently affected by groundwater contamination and a buffer zone of residences located near the contaminated area. Development of and connection to a new groundwater source is retained as a contingency measure in the event that a connection to the City of Middletown Water Distribution System cannot be implemented for administrative or other reasons, or cannot be implemented in a timely manner. Also included is the interim measure of continued monitoring and filtration, and provision of bottled water as necessary until construction of the alternate water supply portion of the remedy is complete and operational.
    • For the overall area of groundwater contamination, implementation of a monitoring network for the dissolved plume to ensure no migration of groundwater beyond its current general boundary.
    • Contingency to implement a groundwater extraction system for hydraulic containment if monitoring indicates that the overall plume or source zone is spreading or migrating beyond its current general boundary.
    • Implementation of a technical impracticability waiver of the applicable or relevant and appropriate requirements that would normally require cleanup of the groundwater, since it is not technically practicable to clean up the groundwater to drinking water and other standards in a reasonable amount of time.
    • Institutional controls, primarily in the form of Environmental Land Use Restrictions (ELURs) as defined in the Connecticut Remediation Standard Regulations, and/or by local ordinance, in a variety of areas to prevent unrestricted future use of certain areas of the Site or use of contaminated groundwater.
    • Further delineation of areas posing potential indoor air risks on and outside of the Merriam Manufacturing Company and Durham Manufacturing Company Study Areas by further characterization, including the collection of shallow groundwater data. If there are unacceptable risks, then further actions will be taken to address such risks, including without limitation, sub-slab depressurization systems and institutional controls on vacant properties or portions of properties, in accordance with EPA and Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection requirements.
    • Five-year reviews to ensure that the remedy continues to be protective of human health and the environment.
The Record of Decision takes into consideration an evaluation of public comments received on the proposed cleanup plan, which was released in July 2005. Twenty-three individuals and local and elected officials submitted comments, either during the public hearing, in writing, or both. Comments were also submitted by the Connecticut Department of Public Health, the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, the City of Middletown Water & Sewer Department, and Durham Manufacturing Company. Comments received during the public comment period and EPA’s responses can be found in the Responsiveness Summary, Appendix D of the Record of Decision.

The Administrative Record, which includes documents that formed the basis for EPA's selection of the cleanup remedy, is available for review, at the Durham Public Library, 7 Maple Street in Durham, and the U.S. EPA Records Center, 1 Congress Street in Boston, as well as on EPA's website at:

Related Information:
Durham Meadows Fact Sheet
Cleanup Process
Cleanup in New England
Superfund in New England