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EPA Review Finds Cleanup Successful; Recommends Followup Actions at Yaworski Lagoon Superfund Site in Canterbury, CT

Release Date: 10/06/2003
Contact Information: Alice Kaufman, EPA Community Involvement Office, 617-918-1064

Boston– Following a study of the effectiveness of the cleanup at the Yaworski Lagoon Superfund Site in Canterbury, Conn., the United States Environmental Protection Agency determined that the cleanup remedy continues to be protective of public health and the environment in the short term, but that additional activities are required to ensure that the site continues to protect people and the environment.

From 1950 to 1973, industrial wastes including solvents, paints, textile dyes, acids, resins, and various other debris were dumped into the lagoon. The site was placed on the EPA's National Priorities List in 1982, and subsequent investigations showed that groundwater and sludge under the site were contaminated with volatile organic compounds and heavy metals. In 1988, EPA issued a cleanup plan requiring capping of the lagoon and implementation of Alternate Concentration Limits as the groundwater protection standard. Monitoring of groundwater, surface water, and sediment has occurred since 1993. In 1999, EPA selected monitored natural attenuation – a plan that calls for groundwater monitoring while allowing the contamination to dilute and biodegrade over time – to address an exceedance of benzene in groundwater that had traveled across the Quinebaug River. In 1999, EPA also conducted human health and ecological risk screening evaluations based on surface water and sediment data collected from the Quinebaug River, finding that contact with river water and sediments poses an insignificant health risk to people, and tailoring the monitoring program to monitor for fewer specific compounds in surface water and sediments to evaluate risk to ecological receptors.

While the agency believes that these measures are currently protecting public health and the environment, it recommends the following for long term safety:

    • Establish land and groundwater use controls at the site and on off-site properties
    • Re-evaluate Alternate Concentration Limits every five years
    • Continue to monitor and evaluate sediment concentrations
Monitoring and cap maintenance will continue, and any changes in site conditions will continue to be evaluated as needed.

This is the second Five Year Review EPA has conducted by for Yaworski Lagoon as required by the Superfund law for sites where waste has been capped or otherwise left in place. The next review is scheduled for 2008.

More information about cleanup activities at the site may be found on the EPA New England web site at: The second five year review report, and other EPA technical reports and documents, are available for public review in the site information repository located at the Canterbury Public Library located at One Municipal Drive in Canterbury, Connecticut.