SOLVENTS RECOVERY SERVICE OF NEW ENGLAND
On this page:
- What Is Being Done to Clean Up the Site?
- What Is the Current Site Status?
- EPA’s Involvement at the Site
- Operable Units (opens new page)
- Cleanup Progress (opens new page)
The Solvents Recovery Service of New England site is located in Southington, Connecticut. Solvents Recovery Service operated a hazardous waste treatment and storage facility and received waste industrial solvents on site. Sludges were disposed of in two unlined lagoons from 1957 to 1967, when lagoons were drained and covered with fill. After the lagoons closed, wastes were burned in an open pit on site or disposed of off site. In the 1970s, the state ordered the end of incineration activities. Site cleanup is ongoing.
What Is Being Done to Clean Up the Site?
The site is being addressed through federal and potentially responsible party (PRP) actions. The site is being addressed through two long-term remedial phases focusing on cleanup of groundwater and soil.
In 1995, the site’s PRPs – companies who sent solvents to the site for processing – under EPA oversight installed a slurry wall and an updated groundwater pump-and-treat system that consisted of ultraviolet/oxidation to clean up shallow groundwater and prevent it from migrating. In 1997, EPA ordered site PRPs to expand the groundwater containment system to address bedrock contamination. Groundwater containment and on-site treatment systems were incorporated into the final cleanup plan agreed on for the site in September 2005.
In 1992, an EPA time-critical removal action addressed potential health threats associated with PCB contamination in soil and sediment along a drainage ditch on the eastern edge of the operations area. About 19 drums containing contaminated material were removed.
In 1994, EPA conducted an investigation into the sources and nature and extent of contamination at the site. Subsequent information indicated that the investigation was not complete, and site PRPs completed the investigation under EPA oversight.
EPA selected the final remedy for the site, including soil, in September 2005.
What Is the Current Site Status?
The site’s long-term remedy included treating waste oils and solvents in an aquifer beneath the operations area by heating them in place; consolidating and capping contaminated and wetland soil; capturing and treating on-site contaminated groundwater exceeding federal drinking water standards; monitoring natural degradation of the plume until groundwater cleanup levels are achieved; monitoring natural degradation of the waste oils and solvents in the bedrock aquifer; putting in place restrictions on uses of the property and groundwater and monitoring groundwater; and maintaining the cap over the long term.
Preparation of the site for thermal treatment required significant work, including installing infrastructure (gas, sewer, power); rerouting a major telecommunications line; and removing and replacing a leaky concrete culvert that runs across the site to the Quinnipiac River. More than 1,400 heater, vapor recovery and monitoring wells were installed. Thermal treatment was conducted over 2014-2015. The cap was constructed in summer 2017.
EPA’s Involvement at the Site
The site encompasses a 4-acre area, which is now fenced, and a groundwater plume. The
facility, located on 42 acres, operated as a permitted hazardous waste treatment and storage facility. It received various waste industrial solvents that were distilled and returned to the customer, or blended and used as fuel. From 1957 to 1967, sludge materials were disposed of in two unlined lagoons. In 1967, sludge disposal stopped and lagoons were drained and covered with fill. After the lagoons were closed, wastes were burned in an open pit on site or disposed of off site. In the 1970s, the state ordered that incineration stop. Past operating practices, spills, and poor housekeeping caused contamination. In 1991, all activities at the site stopped in preparation for closure.
Two town wells – #4 about 2,000 feet to the south and #6, about 1,300 feet to the south – were closed in 1979 because of contamination. Land uses near the site include commercial, light industrial, residential and agricultural uses. The facility is about 500 feet west of the Quinnipiac River.
In 1983, EPA settled a lawsuit filed against the company in 1979 using the federal hazardous waste law. Under the settlement, Solvents Recovery Service was required to improve its procedures for handling solvents; construct a groundwater pumping and treatment system to prevent the migration of contaminated groundwater; and install an off-site system to capture contaminated groundwater beyond the facility boundaries. The company installed the on-site groundwater pump-and-treat system in 1985 and began operating it in 1986. The off-site interceptor system was also installed, though this system never became operational because the company was never issued a discharge permit by the State of Connecticut. The company paved the operations area with asphalt, installed berms to contain spills, improved fire protection and suppression measures by extending the public water supply line to the facility and improved general housekeeping measures. Despite these efforts, many deficiencies remained.
During cleanup, a site can be divided into a number of distinct areas depending on its complexity. These areas, called operable units (OUs), may address geographic areas, specific problems, or areas where a specific action is required. Examples of typical operable units include construction of a groundwater pump and treatment system or construction of a cap over a landfill.