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The Durham Meadows site is located in the Town of Durham, Middlesex County, Connecticut and includes an area of groundwater contamination generally centered on Main Street.  The Site includes historic Main Street in Durham center and contains industrial and residential properties.  It is generally bounded by Talcott Lane to the north; Brick Lane, Ball Brook and Allyn Brook to the East; wetlands west of Maple Avenue to the west; and, based on recent sampling, the intersections of Maple Avenue and Fowler Avenue with Main Street to the south.  The Site is centered around DMC, a currently operating manufacturing facility located at 201 Main Street, and the former location of MMC at 281 Main Street.  DMC was established in 1922 at 201 and 203R Main Street in Durham, Connecticut.  Three main buildings, including an office building and two manufacturing buildings, are currently located on the property.  MMC was established in 1851 at the 281 Main Street location in Durham, Connecticut, and operated at that location until March 1998, when the bulk of the factory was destroyed by fire, leaving only a small warehouse building towards the rear of the property.  The MMC Study Area includes all areas where contamination from MMC has come to be located, including the MMC facility properties at 281 Main Street (the "MMC Parcels") and the abutting residential parcel at 275 Main Street.  See Figure B-1 in Appendix B for the general locations of the MMC Study Area, DMC Study Area, and Site-Wide Groundwater Study Area.

Both companies manufactured metal cabinets, boxes and other items.During their respective operating histories, both companies used various solvents, including trichloroethene, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, and methylene chloride.  The companies' past disposal of wastewater in lagoons or sludge drying beds, spills at both facilities, and inadequate drum storage practices at MMC, among other things, contributed to the contamination at each facility and in the overall area of groundwater surrounding both facilities.  Contamination from volatile organic compounds (VOCs) has been detected in soil and groundwater on both industrial properties, as well as in residential drinking water wells surrounding the former MMC facility and DMC facility.

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What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?

The site is being addressed through federal, state and potentially responsible party (PRP) actions. Installing carbon filters on drinking water wells and removing some hazardous materials have reduced the potential for exposure to contaminants, making it safer while site studies are completed. Affected drinking water wells are monitored regularly by the Durham Manufacturing Company and by the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection.

The Site consists of one Site-wide remedy, which addresses several study areas within the Site.  EPA signed a Record of Decision (ROD) for all of the study areas in 2005.  The five major components of the 2005 ROD as amended by the September 2011 Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD) are:

Merriam Manufacturing Company (MMC) Study Area: Soil excavation and off-site disposal to address risks to human health from contamination in soil and soil vapor.  This component of the remedy was completed in 2011 and 2012.

Durham Manufacturing Company (DMC) Study Area: Excavation and off-site disposal of soil hot spot areas in order to address risks to human health from contamination in overburden (shallow) groundwater and to address source contamination.  The design for this component of the remedy was completed in 2015.   This component of the cleanup will begin once funding is available.

Site-Wide Groundwater Study Area – Alternative Water Supply: Connection to the Middletown Water Distribution System to distribute an alternative source of public water to all residences currently affected by groundwater contamination and a buffer zone of residences located near the contaminated area.  This component addresses current and future risk to human health from ingestion of contaminated groundwater.  The design for this component of the remedy is completed and EPA is working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to procure a contractor for installation of the water line.  A contractor was hired to construct the water line and construction began in September 2019.

Site-Wide Groundwater Study Area - Source Zone and Dissolved Plume: Long-term monitoring of the groundwater contamination along with a technical impracticability waiver for the bedrock groundwater throughout the Site.  The design for this component of  the remedy is ongoing.  EPA installed and sampled bedrock monitoring wells in 2018 to better define the extent of groundwater contamination.

Site-Wide Groundwater Study Area - Contingency Groundwater Extraction for Hydraulic Containment: A contingency to implement a groundwater extraction system for hydraulic containment if monitoring indicates that the overall plume or source zone is spreading or migrating beyond its current general boundary.

The ROD also includes institutional controls, further delineation of areas posing potential indoor air risks on and outside of the MMC and DMC Study Areas, and five-year reviews.

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What Is the Current Site Status?

The site is being addressed in two stages: initial actions and a long-term remedial phase focusing on cleanup of the entire site.

The state in the 1980s ordered the Merriam Manufacturing Co. and the Durham Manufacturing Co., which both made metal displays and boxes, to provide drinking water. As a result, carbon filters were put on wells where necessary and regular monitoring began. In early 2004, EPA detected a new contaminant, 1,4-dioxane, in some private wells. Sampling by EPA and the State in June 2004 of more than 70 private wells indicated 1,4-dioxane in about 22 locations. The carbon filters did not appear to be effective in removing 1,4-dioxane so several homes were given bottled drinking water.

On Sept. 30, 2005, EPA finalized a cleanup plan that called for excavating soil and disposing of it off site, in conjunction with soil vapor extraction. The plan also called for excavating surface soil on an adjacent residential parcel. In addition, homes affected by contamination were to be connected to the Middletown water supply as an alternative source of water. If this connection is not possible for any reason, a connection to a new groundwater source must be developed. Monitoring and filtration, as well as the provision of bottled water as necessary, will also continue.

EPA has completed the cleanup of the former Merriam Manufacturing Company source area and that component of the Site is being monitored and maintained by CTDEEP.   EPA has completed the design is working with the US Army Corps of Engineers to construct a water line that will provide water to the area within the Durham Meadows Superfund Site.  Water line construction will begin in 2019.  EPA has completed the design for the Durham Manufacturing Company source area component of the Site.

CTDEEP and the Durham Manufacturing Company continue to sample residential wells and maintain the water treatment systems.

EPA began the installation of the water line to provide an alternative water supply in September 2019.

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Activity and Use Limitations

At this site, activity and use limitations that EPA calls institutional controls are in place. Institutional controls play an important role in site remedies because they reduce exposure to contamination by limiting land or resource use. They also guide human behavior. For instance, zoning restrictions prevent land uses – such as residential uses – that are not consistent with the level of cleanup.

For more background, see Institutional Controls.

Institutional controls are required for this site.
This site requires ICs because a decision document, such as a Record of Decision, has documented some level of contamination and/or remedy component at the site that would restrict use of the site. These ICs are required to help ensure the site is used in an appropriate way and that activities at the site do not damage the cleanup components. These ICs will remain in place for as long as the contamination and/or cleanup components stay on site. The site contacts should be consulted if there are questions on the ICs for this site.
The following IC Instruments provide media-specific use restrictions that have been implemented by EPA for protecting human health, the environment and remedial engineering on this site. Instruments are documents used by EPA or other organizations to implement the use restrictions at a site. To know about other media-specific use restrictions that are planned but not implemented at this site, please contact the Regional Office using the Site Contact listed above.
Click here for IC Instruments implemented for this site.

To contact EPA regarding Institutional Controls and/or activity and use limitations, please complete this form.

ICs are generally defined as administrative and legal tools that do not involve construction or physically changing the site. Common examples of ICs include site use and excavation restrictions put in place through State and local authorities like zoning, permits and easements. ICs are normally used when waste is left onsite and when there is a limit to the activities that can safely take place at the site (i.e., the site cannot support unlimited use and unrestricted exposure) and/or when cleanup components of the remedy remains onsite (e.g., landfill caps, pumping equipment or pipelines). Effective ICs help ensure that these sites can be returned to safe and beneficial use.
Disclaimer: This information is being provided by EPA as an informational tool to further assist the public in determining the types of restrictions that may be in place at National Priorities List sites being addressed by EPA under the Superfund program. In addition to the areas addressed by the institutional controls identified on this web site there may be other areas on the property that require restrictions on use of the property that are not captured in this EPA database. States and other entities may have implemented laws or restrictions applicable to this site. The information provided herein does not replace a title search or meet "All Appropriate Inquiry" requirements. U.S. EPA encourages users to review the Site files to obtain information regarding remedy components, containment systems and the land use for which cleanup standards were selected for these sites. More information and links can be found in the Institutional Control instrument collection of document, above, and the EPA regional offices may also be contacted.

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