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EPA to Hold Public Hearing on Cleanup Plan for the Durham Meadows Superfund Site in Durham, CT.

Release Date: 07/26/2005
Contact Information:

Contact: Jim Murphy (, EPA Community Affairs, 617-918-1028

For Immediate Release: July 26, 2005; Release # jm050702

BOSTON The United States Environmental Protection Agency will hold a public hearing to accept comments on a comprehensive plan proposed for completing the cleanup at the Durham Meadows Superfund Site in the vicinity of Main Street in Durham, CT.

The formal public hearing to accept written or oral comments from citizens and public officials will be held on Thursday, July 28, 2005 at the Durham Public Library, 7 Maple Avenue. There will be a presentation about the components of the proposed plan beginning at 7:00 p.m., followed by a brief informal question and answer period. The formal public hearing will begin at 8:00 p.m.

Written comments can be mailed or e-mailed to Anni Loughlin at 1 Congress Street, Suite 1100 (HBT), Boston, MA 02114. Written comments must be postmarked (in the case of U.S. Mail) or received (in the case of E-Mail) by EPA no later than August 12, 2005.

The cleanup plan proposed by EPA is projected to cost $12.8 million and includes the following components:

    • Excavation and off-site disposal of soil at and adjacent to the Merriam Manufacturing Company property in conjunction with soil vapor extraction at Merriam to address contamination in soil and vapor.
    • Excavation and off-site disposal of soil at the Durham Manufacturing Company property to address contamination in shallow groundwater and its source.
    • Connection to the Middletown Water Distribution System to provide an alternative source of public water to all residences currently affected by groundwater contamination and additional residences located near the contaminated area.
    • Monitor the overall area of groundwater contamination to ensure no migration of groundwater beyond its current general boundary, along with a contingency to implement a groundwater extraction system for hydraulic containment if the contamination continues to spread.
    • Implementation of a waiver of federal and state requirements that would normally require cleanup of the groundwater to meet drinking water standards, since it is not technically practicable to clean up the groundwater to drinking water standards in a reasonable amount of time.
    • Institutional controls, such as by-laws, deed restrictions, or some other mechanism, that would prevent unrestricted future use of certain areas of the site or use of contaminated groundwater.
    • Further characterization of areas posing potential indoor air risks. If there are unacceptable risks, further actions will be taken to address such risks.
The Durham Meadows Superfund site consists of groundwater contamination generally centered on Main Street in Durham and industrial and residential properties in the area. Investigations at the Durham Meadows site have focused on several possible sources in the area of contamination and include, but are not limited to, the former location of the Merriam Manufacturing Company and the Durham Manufacturing Company, both of which are located on Main Street.

The Merriam Manufacturing Company was established in 1851 and manufactured metal displays and boxes. Wastewater containing dissolved organic solvents and paint wastes were disposed of in lagoons from 1973 to 1982. In another area, paint wastes and degreasing solvents were stored on the ground in drums. Most of Merriam Manufacturing Company's facilities burned in 1998, and the company has relocated its operations.

The Durham Manufacturing Company was established in 1922 and manufactured metal boxes. Wastewater and waste sludge was disposed of in sludge drying beds, and wastes have also been stored on that site in drums.

Wastewater and sludge from manufacturing processes at the site contain paint waste and organic solvents. In 1982, the State Department of Environmental Protection detected volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including methylene chloride, in private wells in the Durham area. Drinking contaminated groundwater may threaten the health of nearby residents; however, the provision of bottled water and installation of carbon filters on wells have decreased the threat of exposure to contaminated water. Environmental investigations into the groundwater contamination have been ongoing since 1982.

A copy of the proposed plan along with other technical documents related to the site is available for review at the Durham Public Library, and the EPA Records Center at 1 Congress Street in Boston, hours: M - F, 10 am to 5 pm. Copies of the plan will be available at the public hearing and the plan is also available on EPA New England’s website (

Related Information:
Durham Meadows
Site Fact Sheet

Superfund in New England
Ground Water