Clearing Way For Cleanup, Leeds Metal Site Added To Federal Superfund National Priorities List

September 18, 2012

CONTACT:
David Wright, Director of Division of Remediation, david.w.wright@maine.gov / (207) 446-4366 or Samantha DePoy-Warren, Maine DEP Communications Director, samantha.depoy-warren@maine.gov / (207) 287-5842

BOSTON – With support from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, the United States Environmental Protection Agency has finalized the addition of the Leeds Metal site in Leeds to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL).

The NPL is a national list of sites that require further investigation and potential cleanup in order to protect human health and the environment in the long term. By adding the Leeds Metal site to the list, federal funds will be activated to help the community address contamination issues and clean-up.

“We are very pleased with the listing decision and believe it will result in significant environmental improvement, which ultimately will allow for redevelopment of the site benefiting the community and the entire area,” said Maine DEP Commissioner Patricia Aho.

Operations at the Leeds Metal site date back to the mid-to late 1800s, however little is known about specific site activities prior to 1969. Between 1969-1984, scrap metal recovery processes took place, performed by a series of site operators. Junk automobiles were shredded onsite, where non-recyclable material, known as auto fluff, was stockpiled. Gasoline and other fluids from junk cars were dumped directly onto the ground, and as many as 100 drums were staged along the tree line in the southern part of the site. The Leeds Fire Department has responded to numerous fires at the site. The site is currently inactive and unoccupied, and appears to have remained abandoned since operations ceased in 1984.

Maine DEP has led extensive work at the site already, including removing drummed waste and an abandoned transformer; sampling soil; sampling nearby private drinking water wells to identify possible off-site migration of wastes; overseeing a series of investigations to assess the site and groundwater in the area; and installing carbon filtration devices at five homes with volatile organic compound contamination exceeding state health benchmarks.

EPA completed removal and remedial investigations in 2011 that documented the need for response actions to address imminent hazards posed by the uncontrolled site wastes.

For all NPL sites, EPA works to identify companies or people responsible for the contamination and to require them to conduct or pay for the investigation and cleanup. For newly listed sites without viable potentially responsible parties, EPA will investigate the full extent of the contamination before starting significant cleanup at the site.

For more information about the Leeds Metal site, visit http://www.maine.gov/dep/spills/leeds_metal/

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