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Release Date: 12/27/1996
Contact Information: Cheryl Sprague, EPA Project Manager, (617) 573-9624 Kristen Conroy, EPA Community Relations, (617) 918-1069

BOSTON - New technology will be used to clean up old contamination at the Fletcher's Paint Superfund Site in Milford, N.H. under a phased approach plan proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in conjunction with the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Service. The proposed approach will use both treatment (thermal desorption) and containment in cleaning up the PCB contamination at the site.

"There are no simple answers in cleaning up this site. However, the phased cleanup proposal is the most common sense approach. The most contaminated soils on Mill Street will be addressed first followed by cleanup of a larger volume of soils on the Elm Street property. Phasing allows best use of the Elm Street property which reduces the impacts to the community during the cleanup process while allowing GE the opportunity to continue developing their emerging thermal well technology for potential use during the second phase of the cleanup," said John P. DeVillars, administrator for the EPA's New England office.

"We strongly support the promotion and use of more cost-effective innovative/alternative clean up technologies. The phasing of the remedy at the Fletcher's Paint Site to allow for the possible use of the thermal well technology is a positive step forward,"said Robert W. Varney, Commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.

Phase I of the proposed action will start in the area of Fletcher's Mill Street property. Soils with PCB concentrations greater than one part per million (ppm) will be excavated to provide protection to the public as well as to remove contaminated soils that could cause future adverse impact to the groundwater. The excavated soils will then be treated in a mobile thermal desorption unit located on the Elm Street property. Thermal desorption indirectly heats the soils to separate the contamination, concentrating it into a liquid sludge to be incinerated off-site. Soil clean up will be followed by the demolition and off-site disposal of the Elm Street Fletcher building. Five underground storage tanks at this location will also be removed and disposed of.

Phase II of the proposal will include placing a single layer excavation impermeable cover over the remaining, deeper PCB contaminated soil and monitoring the entire groundwater contamination plume until cleanup levels are met.

The public will have the following opportunity to learn more about the proposed activities at the Fletcher's Paint Superfund Site.

On Jan. 14, 1997 at 7 p.m., EPA will hold an informal public meeting at the Milford Town Hall, Banquet Room. EPA will make oral presentations along with showing a brief video on the use of a thermal desorption technology.

On Jan. 29, 1997 at 7 p.m. the EPA will hold a formal public hearing at the Milford Town Hall, auditorium. During the hearing, the public is invited to provide formal oral comments on the proposed cleanup plan. Comments taken at the formal hearing will be recorded as part of the official public record.

The EPA also encourages written comments on the proposed cleanup plan from Jan. 15 to Feb. 18, 1997. Written comments, postmarked no later than Feb.18 should be submitted to:

Cheryl Sprague
U.S. EPA, Region I
JFK Federal Bldg., HBO
Boston, MA 02203

All comments will be addressed in a responsiveness summary that will be available for review at the Wadleigh Public Library in Milford and at the EPA Record Center in Boston.

Fletcher's Paint Works on Elm Street, manufactured and sold water-based latex paints and organic chemical-based solvent paints from 1949 to 1991. A wooden building for storing pigments used to produce paints was at the Mill Street location.

In 1988, the EPA placed temporary covers over parking lots at the Elm Street and Mill Street portions of the site; removed 12 bags of asbestos from the Mill Street Storage area; and removed 863 drums of hazardous substances from the Paint Works facility. In 1993, EPA demolished the shed on Mill Street. Two years later, GE, with EPA oversight, removed PCB contaminated soil from the residential properties across from the Fletcher's Mill Street property.

The Fletcher's Paint Site was placed on the EPA's National Priorities List in 1989, making it eligible for federal action to address longer-term environmental impacts under the Superfund program. The Remedial Investigation, which investigates the nature and extent of contamination was completed in July 1994. The Feasibility Study which evaluates cleanup alternatives was completed in April 1996.