The Site consists of a chemical plant that included a Chlor-Alkali plant and is located on the east bank of the Androscoggin River just downstream of the Sawmill Dam in Berlin, New Hampshire. The former facility is located at latitude 44o 28' 41.90" N and longitude 71o 10' 01.73"W. The former facility area consists of a 4.6 acre on-site landfill with an impermeable membrane cover and two feet of wood chips and vacant land where the chemical plant operated. The landfill is partially isolated from the environment by a slurry wall on the eastern edge of the debris; however, the debris rests directly on the overburden and bedrock and is in contact with the groundwater.
From the late 1800s to the 1960s, chlorine and other chemicals (e.g., caustic soda, hydrogen, chloroform) were produced using electrolytic cells in �cell houses� at the former facility. Diaphragm cells, and also possibly mercury cells, produced chlorine for use in the manufacture of paper at the adjacent pulp mill. The mercury and other contaminants associated with chemical plant operations, including dioxin and PCBs, were disposed on-site. Most of the facility structures were razed and buried on the property in the 1960s. In 1999, the last cell house was demolished and the 4.6 acre Cell House Parcel landfill was created.
The Androscoggin River is currently designated �catch-and-release� from Berlin downstream to the Maine border. People who disregard this designation and eat fish caught in the river could be exposed to elevated levels of PCBs, mercury and dioxin, all of which are highly toxic. Seven rare bird species are known to live or feed close to the Androscoggin River near the site and could, therefore, be harmed by the contaminants being released from the site. These species include the bald eagle, peregrine falcon, common nighthawk, northern harrier, osprey, common loon, and Cooper�s hawk.