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Waste Site Cleanup & Reuse in New England

Vermont Mill Properties

Removal action at Vermont Mill Properties, Bennington, Vt.

In response to an anonymous call to the EPA emergency response line, EPA conducted an investigation in 2008 at a property in Bennington, Vt. The site of the investigation, Vermont Mill Properties, is a 12.2-acre site adjacent to the Walloomsac River. The site was a former mill building and currently, there are several active businesses that lease space in the building, including a health club, lawyer’s offices, magazine publisher, and a social services office. Mace Security International, a business that produces personal protective equipment, also has offices and production facilities in the former mill.

Mace manufactures and distributes mace and pepper spray products, among other things. Mace produces waste from the testing of its products and, at the time of the EPA investigation in 2008, was storing drums and containers of waste in violation of EPA hazardous waste requirements. Mace was also storing over 50,000 pounds of the tear gas agent 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile (CS-1), which was used in the production of some tear gas products. The drums of waste and containers of CS-1 were being stored in two, unused buildings in the rear section of the mill that were connected by a covered walkway at the second floor. The buildings storing the CS-1did not appear to be structurally sound at the time of the EPA investigation. When burned, CS-1 will produce cyanide and considering the large volume being store at the site, the conditions of the building in which it was being stored and the close proximity of residential home to the mill, EPA determined that the CS-1 presented a threat to the public and the environment.

The owner of the property, who was also the president of the Mace Company, was required under an EPA order to have the buildings in which the CS-1 was being stored be inspected by a structural engineer to determine if the second floor was safe enough to store the CS-1 material. As the floor was not stable enough to have people working on it safely, the engineer for the owner took measures to shore up the floor before work could begin. All drums and containers of waste at the Mace facility, the 1924 and Cold Storage buildings were assessed, overpacked and staged for disposal.

Drums of waste material located within an unused section of the mill were sampled to determine appropriate disposal. The waste was transferred to a permitted facility.

Debris from renovation activities at the mill and the soils beneath the demo debris, have been sampled and analyzed to determine proper disposal. The chemical used in making tear gas, 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile, was been shipped off site for disposal or sale.

A total of 27 tons of hazardous soil and demolition debris; 74 cubic yards of non-hazardous soil; 2,088 pounds of waste ammunition: 17,512 pounds and 1,880 gallons of hazardous containerized waste; 814 pounds and 935 gallons of non-hazardous containerized waste and 111,388 pounds of bulk CS-1 tear gas solid were shipped off site for disposal.

A final site visit was conducted at the mill Aug. 26, 2009 by EPA and a representative from the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation. The final tasks, the asbestos abatement and removal of two, 10,000 gallon oil storage tanks, had been completed. Based on a site visit, EPA confirmed that all activities required under the EPA order were completed by the company.

Location: Bennington, Vt.
EPA Mobilization Date*: 04/07/2008
EPA Demobilization Date*: 08/26/2009
Contact: Claudia Deane (deane.claudia@epa.gov)

*The information contained on this website is merely informational; any dates found on the website cannot be relied upon to create any rights, substantive or procedural, enforceable by any party in litigation with the United States. EPA reserves the right to change such dates at any time without public notice.

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