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Waste Site Cleanup & Reuse in New England

Rolnick Property Site

Rolnick Property Site

In January of 2008, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (ME DEP) requested EPA’s Emergency Planning & Response Branch evaluate the property to determine whether lead-contaminated surface and subsurface soils along the Penobscot River posed a public health and environmental threat. On April 18, 2008, OSC Wainberg and Enforcement Coordinator Hennessy met with ME DEP representative Tracy Weston at the DEP Augusta offices to perform a file review and to conduct a site visit at the Rolnick Property. At the site, T. Weston and the current property owner provided a tour and explained previous investigations and removal work. On May 15, 2008, the OSC, EPA contractors and ME DEP completed a Removal Program Preliminary Assessment/Site Investigation (PA/SI), which included collecting soil samples in areas of concern ME DEP previously identified. OSC Wainberg recommended a time-critical removal action at the Rolnick Property Site in a Closure Memorandum dated July 14, 2008.

The site abuts the Penobscot River and is located in a mixed residential and commercial area about 0.5 miles from the Brewer town center.  According to 2006 census data, Brewer has an approximate population of 9,079.  It is bordered to the north by three residential properties along Hardy Street and a town-owned parcel that is the location of a formerly active municipal landfill and currently houses a pump station.  In addition, it is used as a staging area for the Maine Department of Transportation.  In the east is South Main Street.  In the west is the Penobscot River, and a commercial property is to the south.  The site is approximately 4.24 acres, is privately owned and operated and has a 40' by 70' Quonset hut in the northwest corner of the property along Main Street.  This houses an active bottle redemption business that has been operating since 1984.  From 1865-1906, it was used by Dirigo Lumber as a saw mill, and from 1895-1929, Charles Stanford owned and operated an automobile dealership here.  In 1914, a portion of the property was leased to Louis Rolnick for an automobile salvage facility.  He purchased the entire property in 1929 and continued its operation as an automobile salvage facility until 1983.  Another portion was leased to Albert Cowan in 1933 for an Amoco gasoline station, which was located on the northeast corner and remained there until 1946. 

The primary areas of concern included the riverbank along the southern and western edges of the property, where extensive sampling showed high levels of lead contamination in the surface and subsurface soils.  The riverbank along the southern edge had visible battery casings (presumably from the auto salvage business) that extended from the top of the bank to below the high water mark, and the riverbank along the western edge was comprised of crib work constructed with wood timbers and car chassis.  Battery casings and other debris also were visible.

In August 2008, an Action Memorandum authorized a removal action to address the public health and environmental threat posed by the lead in surface soils along the Penobscot River.  Throughout the summer, EPA worked with the property owner to gain removal access.  Access was granted at the end of September 2008, and EPA addressed the contaminated soils during the 2009 construction season.  The response actions included clearing and grubbing for riverbank work, receiving rip-rap revetment materials, excavating soil and undertaking rip-rap revetment installation activities, treating contaminated soil on site and then shipping it to a permitted disposal facility once sample analysis indicates effectiveness of the on-site treatment.  The portion of the riverbank that is adjacent to the previously constructed sea-wall had a "bin-block" wall to the river side of the deteriorating crib work constructed, followed by backfilling and rip-rap revetment construction. 

Location: Brewer, ME
Start date: 10/16/2009
End date: 06/18/2010
Contact: Claudia Deane (deane.claudia@epa.gov)

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