Massive Cleanup Includes New Water Infrastructure

Funding for cleanup project includes installation of a new water supply for properties contaminated by the Durham Meadows Superfund Site

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The EPA has allocated $9 million to jump-start cleanup activities at the Durham Meadows Superfund site in Durham, Connecticut. The funding will support the installation of an alternative water supply to the Superfund site area, serving over 100 residential and commercial structures, including Regional School District 13.

Many of the homes and businesses to be connected have treatment systems or are being provided bottled water as a result of widespread groundwater contamination.

In the past, the Durham Manufacturing Company (operating) and the former Merriam Manufacturing Company polluted soil and groundwater with TCE and other chlorinated solvents in the area of Main Street in Durham. As a result, water in many private potable wells in Durham is unsafe to drink.

The EPA, DEEP, DPH, the Town of Durham, and the City of Middletown have been working together for many years to provide temporary and permanent remedies for the homes with polluted wells. A public water main from Middletown to Durham will be the permanent remedy. The EPA received $9 million for the federal fiscal year of 2015 to start construction of the water main. DEEP has received $3 million from the Bond Commission for the state’s cost share, as required by Superfund, to support construction of the water main and other remedial actions at the site. The EPA and DEEP are happy to see this project moving forward.

“This EPA funding will initiate the work to install the alternative water supply for the residents and businesses of Durham," said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office, in a press release. "We are excited that this means the important work to address groundwater contamination and ensure clean drinking water will begin next year. The EPA appreciates the hard work and partnership of the Town of Durham, the City of Middletown, the Connecticut Dept. of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP), and the Connecticut Dept. of Public Health to help the EPA make this happen.”

The Durham Meadows Superfund Site includes an area of groundwater contamination associated with past disposal practices at the Durham Manufacturing Co. and the former location of Merriam Manufacturing Co. In 1982, the Conn. Dept. of Environmental Protection (now the Connecticut Dept. of Energy & Environmental Protection [CT DEEP]), detected volatile organic compounds (VOCs – commonly found in solvents, paints and degreasers) in private drinking water wells in the Durham Center area, including trichloroethylene (TCE).

Under a state order, the companies installed granular activated carbon filtration units on impacted residential wells. To date, 50 private wells serving 54 locations have found to be contaminated. These homes have water treatment systems to remove contamination. In 2005, the EPA issued a Record of Decision outlining the cleanup action for the site, including the extension of an alternate water supply from the City of Middletown Water Distribution System to address the overall area of site-wide groundwater contamination.

Since 2005, the EPA has been developing the design for the water line with support from the Town of Durham, City of Middletown, CTDEEP, and CTDPH. The EPA also completed the cleanup of the former Merriam Manufacturing Company property in 2012 and is working on the design to perform a cleanup at the Durham Manufacturing Company.


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