Superfund site cleanup plan hearing slated

MILFORD – The federal government has held two hearings on the latest plan to clean up the Fletcher Paint Superfund site.

Now the town will take a role in the information process.

Town Administrator Guy Scaife told selectmen Monday night that he intends to prepare a “white paper” on how the process will work and then the town will hold a public hearing.

“We want to better answer and deal with citizens’ questions,” Scaife said.

The government is seeking public acceptance for a plan for off-site disposal of 28,000 cubic yards of the most highly contaminated soils at the site, located on Elm and Mill streets.

General Electric Co., the company that provided the defunct Elm Street paint manufacturer with PCB-laden materials, has decided it would prefer to excavate and truck away the soil instead of treating it onsite.

GE says the new plan will cost it about $20 million, instead of $29 million for on-site treatment, and will mean a quicker cleanup with fewer truck trips.

At the government’s second public hearing on July 8, several residents and property owners, worried mostly about the safety of the cleanup process — including dust dispersal from contaminated soil — commented on the plan.

Scaife said he did not know when the white paper, defined as an authoritative report on a major issue, will be ready.

Until the 1970s, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) were used for many industrial purposes, particularly transformers and capacitors. They were banned because of high toxicity and are classified as persistent organic pollutants that accumulate in the bodies of fish, animals and people.

Research has determined that PCBs are either probable human carcinogens or definite carcinogens and are linked to liver cancer.

Last month the federal Environmental Protection Agency extended the deadline for comments to Aug. 18.

Residents are asked to send written comments postmarked no later than Aug. 18 to Cheryl Sprague, RPM, US EPA Region 1, 1 Congress St., Suite 1100 (HBO), Boston, MA 02114-2023 or e-mail comments by Aug. 18 to

A file on the Fletcher Superfund site is available to the public at the Wadleigh Library in Milford. Cheryl Sprague, the EPA project manager, said the comments from the public hearings will be available in about three months at the library.