Oct 30, 2015

Project to Install New Water Supply for Properties Contaminated by Durham Meadows Superfund Site

The alternative water supply will serve more than 100 residential and commercial structures

Durham Meadows Superfund Site EPA alternative drinking water supply

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has allocated $9 million to jump start cleanup activities at the Durham Meadows Superfund site in Durham, Conn. The funding will support the installation of an alternative water supply to the Superfund site area, serving more than 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.

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

“Moving this project forward brings us closer to a positive ending to a long and troubling saga for residents and businesses in this area,” said DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee.  “With federal and state funding now in place we are moving forward to provide safe drinking water to families and to clean chemical contamination that has remained in the ground for far too long.”

In the past, the Durham Manufacturing Co. (operating) and the former Merriam Manufacturing Co. polluted soil and groundwater with trichloroethylene (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.

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. 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. EPA and DEEP are happy to see this project moving forward.

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 Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (now the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection ), detected volatile organic compounds in private drinking water wells in the Durham Center area, including 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, 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, EPA has been developing the design for the water line with support from the town of Durham, city of Middletown, DEEP, and DPH. EPA also completed the cleanup of the former Merriam Manufacturing Co. property in 2012 and is working on the design to perform a cleanup at the Durham Manufacturing Co.