'Redevelopment welcome' at Gray Superfund site

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GRAY — In a recent comprehensive review of site cleanup at McKin Co., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency concluded that abandonment of residential wells within the groundwater ordinance zone is necessary to remedy the site in the long term, but “redevelopment [is] welcome.”

Since 1965, the McKin Co. site has been used for a variety of purposes, including a sand and gravel pit and a facility for the disposal of industrial process waste. In 1973, residents of Gray reported odors in their well water and discoloration of their laundry, and in 1977 the EPA confirmed that contaminated water had leaked into private wells. McKin Co. was ordered to cease operations.

The EPA has conducted six five-year reviews for McKin property, which is a Superfund site.

Cleanup has included aeration of the soil, disposal of drums and construction of a groundwater extraction and treatment system, among other projects. A town ordinance also prohibits the use of groundwater within a designated area surrounding the site, according to the EPA, and there is a conservation easement in place along nearby Collyer Brook.

In 2013, the site was deemed ready for reuse and redevelopment. 

In the most recent report, the EPA concluded that there is no significant health risk posed by direct contact with soil on the property, although contamination impacts aquifers. As such, long-term consumption of groundwater could pose a future public health risk. 

The report concluded that residential wells in the area need to be permanently abandoned. 

Since 2013, the EPA has completed one of the three goals set forth in that report: implementing periodic review of toxicity data. 

The second recommendation — determining appropriate schedule and responsibilities to monitor institutional control complicance — is under discussion. 

The third, permanently abandoning residential wells, is ongoing, as the EPA will contact property owners about abandoning the wells. 

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection reported that “as long as any development was consistent with the environmental covenents” and receives appropriate permission, “redevelopment was welcome” at the site.

The EPA is involved in Superfund studies and cleanups at 16 sites across Maine.

Jane Vaughan can be reached at 780-9103 or at jvaughan@keepmecurrent.com.