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After Massive Plainfield, CT Fire, EPA Commits $500,000 in Additional Emergency Funding For Clean-up

Release Date: 05/02/2005
Contact Information:

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

For Immediate Release: May 2, 2005; Release # sr050501

EPA announced today that it has earmarked an additional $500,000, on top of the $250,000 that the agency has already spent, to continue response and clean-up activities associated with the massive fire at the abandoned InterRoyal Mill in Plainfield Connecticut that blazed last week. Federal, state, and local officials, including representatives of Connecticut's congressional delegation, met today in Plainfield to discuss immediate and longer term options for cleaning up the site and surrounding areas.

EPA emergency responders have been at the site since last Tuesday, working with the Conn. Departments of Environmental Protection, the Northeast District Department of Health, and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry to conduct air quality monitoring. Nearby residents were allowed back into their homes late last Thursday evening and Plainfield schools were reopened last Friday when sampling and continuous monitoring data indicated that all contaminant levels were below federally established levels of concern.

EPA and DEP workers continue their relentless field work to recover debris that could potentially contain asbestos. Currently, seven field crews comprising 35 people are working 12 hour shifts from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., scouring a five mile by one-half mile area north of the mill site where debris from the fire has been reported or confirmed. EPA anticipates that it could take up to two more weeks to complete the clean-up and removal of the fire debris in the fallout area. Residents are reminded to adhere to strict instructions to keep away from fire debris and to report fallen debris to (860) 230-3001.

EPA's additional funding will be used to complete the clean-up and removal of the fire-related debris in the off-site fallout area and to initiate the evaluation of the debris pile now at the mill site. EPA had a structural engineer on-scene today evaluating options for removing portions of the walls at the site so that clean-up crews can safely gain access to the interior of the site to further characterize any existing hazards.

EPA has a had long history of activity at the one million square foot InterRoyal Mill, a former manufacturer of office and hospital furniture. EPA's past efforts at the site, totaling over $1.6 million dollars in clean-up costs, drastically reduced the potentially catastrophic consequences posed by last week's fire. EPA's past efforts include the following:

      After the facility was shut down due to bankruptcy in 1985, EPA conducted a preliminary assessment and site investigation in 1991, documenting that drums and bulk chemicals remained in the mill;
      In 1995, once the Mill was fully abandoned, EPA removed large volumes of hazardous contaminants from the Site including over 680 drums and other containers containing acids/bases, cyanides, flammable and other hazardous substances; 48 vats containing over 10,000 gallons of plating solutions; and 5 large transformers containing 3,866 gallons of PCB-contaminated oil. The cost of these actions alone were approximately $1.3 million.
      In 2000-2002 EPA's Brownfields Program conducted extensive site characterization work to evaluate asbestos, lead and other hazardous substances;
      In 2003, EPA conducted another removal action which primarily addressed site access issues, PCBs and asbestos. This action involved posting warning signs, putting up site perimeter fencing, and excavating and removing PCB-contaminated surface soils.
For more information about EPA's response to the Plainfield fire visit our website at:

Related Information:
InterRoyal Mill Fact Sheet
Cleanup Process
Cleanup in New England
Cleanup Photos
EPA Press Release: EPA Staff are Involved in the Ongoing Response Taking Place in Plainfield, CT.
Local Press Releases, Update and Fact Sheet PDF
Desk Statement: InterRoyal