October 21, 2018
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Feds remove midcoast Maine Superfund site from priority list

Pablo Martinez Monsivais | AP
Pablo Martinez Monsivais | AP
In this Sept. 21, 2017, file photo, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Building is shown in Washington.

After nearly 30 years, the former site of a chemical plant in Hope has been removed from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Priority List following the completion of its cleanup.

The Union Chemical Co., which handled paint stripping and petrochemical-based solvents, operated on the site from 1967 until the state shut it down in 1984. When it closed, there were 2,000 drums and 30 storage tanks of hazardous waste on site.

During the past three decades, the EPA and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, have worked to clean up the site, which had heavily polluted groundwater and soil. The property was added to the EPA’s National Priorities List — also known as the Superfund site list — in 1989.

Federal and state regulators have determined that “all appropriate Superfund-financed responses” have been implemented at the site, “and that no further cleanup by responsible parties is appropriate for the site,” according to an EPA release Wednesday.

“Delisting the Union Chemical Company Site from the Superfund list is an important milestone that marks the completion of many years of cleanup work, collaboration across many levels of government and private parties, and will now allow for future planning,” EPA New England Regional Administrator Alexandra Dunna said in the release.

During the cleanup, the facility’s buildings and storage containers were decontaminated and disposed of off site. The soil was decontaminated, and testing concluded that there were no off-site impacts from the facility’s operations.

Soil and groundwater cleanup efforts removed approximately 95 percent of the site’s contamination, according to the EPA.

The EPA determined in 2013 that it was impracticable to restore groundwater at the site to drinking water quality, despite various technologies employed during the cleanup. A deed restriction has been placed on the property that would prohibit the use of groundwater for drinking.

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