EPA suspends cleanup in Milford

MILFORD – Cleanup work at the Mill Street section of the Fletcher Paint Superfund Site was temporarily suspended in February after air monitoring wells showed higher than expected levels of contamination.

General Electric Co, and its contractor, Maxymillian Technologies, are in the midst of excavation and off-site disposal of soils contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls at the Mill Street and Elm Street sites.

In mid-February, the three air monitoring devices on Mill Street began to indicate PCB emissions above the recommended threshold of 0.1 micrograms per cubic meter.

"We stopped all active work," said Jim Murphy, an Environmental Protection Agency spokesman, who said there is no immediate threat to public health.

There are five homes in the immediate area. Air sampling started Feb. 18 with seven stations, three at Elm Street, three at Mill Street and one background location. Corrective actions on Mill Street started after two of the stations there showed the higher levels on Feb. 18 and 19.

GE’s control measures include power-cleaning driveways to the site, put­ting down dust and wind screen, adding misting and sprinkling devices, and covering exposed soils to get rid of poten­tial sources of fumes, Murphy said.

Air levels improved but continued to exceed the threshold, according to the EPA, so on March 30, GE applied vapor-suppressing foam and added a fourth air moni­toring station.

GE is considered re­sponsible for the PCB contamination from the 1950s through the 1970s, and is doing the remedial work under the oversight of the EPA.

In the early 1980s, wa­ter samples from the Keyes Municipal Well showed volatile organic compounds, and the well was removed from ser­vice in 1984.

The properties were put on the National Pri­orities list of hazardous waste sites eligible for long-term cleanup in 1989 to be financed under the federal Superfund pro­gram.

The EPA says it will look at other corrective measures if contamina­tion with PCBs, consid­ered probable human carcinogens, continue to exceed the action level.

Town Administrator Mark Bender said he is watching the devel­opments and notified Milford Schools Super­intendent Robert Mar­quis. Jacques and Sage schools are near the two sites.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or kcleveland@cabinet.com.