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Vermont Site Added to EPA Superfund List; New Hampshire Site Proposed for Inclusion

Release Date: 04/27/2005
Contact Information:

Contact: David Deegan, EPA Office of Public Affairs, (617) 918-1017,

For Immediate Release: April 27, 2005; Release # dd050410

BOSTON - EPA today added ten sites nationwide to the national "Superfund" list, including the Commerce Street Plume in Williston, Vt. EPA has also proposed to add seven other sites nationally to the National Priorities List, including the former Chlor-Alkali Facility in Berlin, N.H.

The National Priorities List, known commonly as Superfund, represents hazardous waste sites throughout the country that are in most need of long-term clean up due to risk concerns for human health and the environment. Superfund makes public funds available to clean up toxic waste sites when private financing is unavailable.

Williston, VT Site
The Commerce Street Plume site, located within an industrial park on Commerce Street, was the home of various manufacturing and electroplating operations since the 1960's. A former property owner, Mitec Systems Corp., discharged undetermined quantities of plating rinsewater and sludge wastes which contained heavy metals and solvents into an unlined lagoon and septic leach field.

Elevated concentrations of volatile organic compounds and heavy metals have been detected in monitoring wells located throughout the industrial park and surrounding residential area. Also, six private drinking water wells were taken out of service after they were found to be heavily contaminated. Area residents were provided with an alternate drinking water supply in 1985.

Recent EPA and Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation investigations have further delineated the extent of groundwater, soil and surface water contamination beyond the one-acre former Mitec property.

Berlin, N.H. Site
The former Chlor-Alkali Facility is located on the east bank of the Androscoggin River, just downstream of the Sawmill Dam in Berlin. From the late 1800s to the 1960s, the facility produced chlorine and other chemicals using electrolytic cells in “cell houses” on the property. Most of the on-site structures were razed and buried on-site in the 1960’s. The last cell house was demolished in 1999, at which time most of the property was capped.

Residual wastes from the historical manufacturing processes have been detected in ground water and soils on-site, and site investigations reveal that despite earlier actions to address the source of contamination, mercury continues to seep into the Androscoggin River from cracks in the bedrock at the edge of the site. Mercury has also been found in the sediments of the adjacent Androscoggin River through sampling conducted by former site owners and the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.

Between 1999 and 2004 six removal efforts resulted in the removal of at least 135 pounds of mercury and mercury-containing sediments from the river and its bank. The recovered mercury and mercury-contaminated sediment was shipped off-site for disposal/recycling.

Proposal of the Chlor-Alkali (Former) Facility to the NPL opens a 60-day comment period regarding the proposed listing. Detailed information on where to access the proposed listing documents, and how to submit comments, is available at: .

Comments must be submitted in writing to:

      U.S. EPA
      Docket Coordinator, CERCLA Docket Office
      Mailcode 5201 G
      Ariel Rios Building, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
      Washington, D.C. 20460
      Attn: Chlor-Alkali/Berlin NH

Copies of the listing documents are available for public review at the following locations:
      EPA Records Center
      1 Congress St., Suite 1100
      Boston MA 02114
      Hours: M - F 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. - 5 p.m.

      N.H. Dept. of Environmental Services
      6 Hazen Dr, P.O. Box 95
      Concord NH 03302
      Hours: M - F 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
      Schedule an appointment with Ariel Parent at (603) 271-2919

      VT Agency for Natural Resources
      Department of Environmental Conservation
      103 South Main Street, West Building
      Waterbury, VT 05671-0404
      Hours: M – F 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
      Schedule an appointment with Kathy Perkins at (802) 241-3443

Information on all ten final sites added to the NPL, and all seven sites proposed for addition to the NPL, is available at: .

More information on Superfund clean up activity in New England is available at: .

Related Information:
Long-Term Cleanups
Superfund in New England