EPA completes removal of over 100,000 cubic yards of contamination at the Raymark Superfund Site

STRATFORD, CONN. (May 14, 2024) – Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s New England Regional Administrator David W. Cash joined members of the Connecticut Congressional delegation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the Mayor of Stratford, and local community members to highlight the significant progress made at the Raymark Industries, Inc. Superfund Site under funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

“This unprecedented funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has allowed EPA and its partners to deliver on our promise to protect the community from legacy contamination, as well as cleanup and restore land for reuse in Stratford,” said EPA New England Regional Administrator David W. Cash. “Though there’s still a long road ahead of us, we’re looking forward to continuing full steam ahead, restoring additional properties and bringing the Raymark cleanup to completion.”

Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding for the Stratford, Connecticut site propelled the cleanup forward, thus far EPA and its partners have been able to complete the following activities:

More than 100,000 cubic yards of contamination excavated and removed;
28 properties cleaned up and restored, including 12 active businesses;
1/3 of a mile of Ferry Creek cleaned up and working to restore the natural habitat by planting over an acre of wetland seed, live stakes, and nearly 1,000 trees and shrubs;
More than 10,000 air samples collected from 9 monitoring stations to confirm the air remained safe;
Provided 30 to 50 jobs each workday including engineers, scientists, machine operators, laborers and truck drivers.

Officials took a tour of the remediated properties to view the progress and participated in a roundtable conversation with local community members to discuss the positive impacts that the cleanup has had on the town. EPA Regional Administrator Cash and partners also conducted a ceremonial removal of a Public Health Advisory sign which had been posted decades ago to warn against exposure to Raymark contamination in the upstream portion of Ferry Creek but is no longer needed now that this portion of the creek has been cleaned up.

What They Are Saying

“Thanks to $113 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Stratford’s Raymark Superfund site is being transformed from a perilously polluted old industrial site to a healthy, economically viable property,” said U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal. “Under the EPA’s leadership, dangerous levels of pollution and contamination have been removed, natural wetland and woodland habitats have been restored, and 28 properties have been remediated. I am thrilled to see strong federal resources in action here in Stratford, and I will keep fighting for additional funding to complete these transformative projects across Connecticut.”

“The progress made toward cleaning up the Raymark Superfund Site would not have been possible without the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. 100,000 cubic yards is a big milestone, and it’s great to see the EPA invested in making sure the project is completed. This cleanup will restore the natural habitat, bring good-paying jobs to Stratford, and, most importantly, give families and local businesses peace of mind for years to come,” said U.S. Senator Chris Murphy.

“This is a great day for the Town of Stratford and the many residents and business owners who have been impacted by Raymark and though we still have work to do, I am so glad to see the incredible progress with the remediation work that has been completed to date,” said U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro, CT-03. “I was proud to support the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for many reasons, and the $3.5 billion allocated for Superfund cleanup work was one, knowing what an impact it could make here in Stratford. Most importantly, this project is ensuring the remediation of environmental hazards, but with that has also come additional stormwater infrastructure that will have an impact for the entire community. We started this process with some very difficult challenges — the partnership and trust that has been built between the community, the EPA, and DEEP has been hard won, and in working together real improvement is being realized.”

“Connecticut DEEP applauds the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its partnership in the cleanup of Raymark waste material from various parcels in southern Stratford,” said Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Katie Dykes. “These efforts, made possible through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, have resulted in the removal of 100,000 cubic yards of Raymark waste from commercial properties, inland wetlands, coastal areas, and tidal wetlands. This incredible federal state, and local partnership is getting the job done as these historically contaminated sites are being properly remediated and restored to become places that will be safer to recreate in and utilized for positive re-use.”

“First and foremost, I would like to recognize the EPA and its administrators over the years for understanding the importance and for continuing to advocate for the full scope of this remediation project. The EPA has championed moving the remediation forward in many ways, and I am grateful for the initial $95 million appropriated and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that continued to fund the collaborative efforts of the EPA and Stratford in the remediation process,” said Stratford Mayor Laura R. Hoydick. I would also like to acknowledge our Health Director, Andrea Bossevain, and Health Program Associate, Alivia Coleman, for their dedication to such a substantial project. Andrea has spent 33+ years overseeing the partnership on this between the Town and the EPA, first as a consultant and then as our Health Director, and for the past ten years Alivia has worked with the EPA to ensure the project continues to run smoothly and efficiently. I am very proud of the progress that has been made as we work towards completing this critically important remediation. I would also like to thank Andrea, Alivia, and Stratford’s departments, and the EPA, for their transparency and thoughtful communication with our residents throughout the process. We are fortunate to have a fantastic team making great strides while always keeping the public’s health as a top priority. I am also grateful and thankful to Stratford’s residents who have lived with the scars of Raybestos and who have continued to work with the federal, state and local governments through the long length of this project.”

Background

The 34-acre Stratford site, added to the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1995, was the location of the Raymark Industries, Inc., a manufacturer of automotive breaks, clutch parts, and other friction components. Raymark operated at this location from 1919 until 1989 when operations ceased, leaving behind contamination in area soil, sediment, surface water and groundwater that consisted of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), asbestos, lead, copper, and about a dozen other chemical compounds known to be carcinogenic or otherwise toxic to human health and the environment. The Raymark manufacturing waste was historically discharged to a series of unlined lagoons allowing chemicals to seep into the groundwater and overflow to a nearby creek. Periodically, sludge was removed from these lagoons and disposed of as fill on the former facility property. Over time, this waste material was given away as free fill used within the Town of Stratford at a minimum of 46 residential properties and over two dozen other commercial, recreational and municipal properties. In addition, several wetland areas near the Housatonic River were also filled in with Raymark’s manufacturing waste.

In 1980, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), commonly known as Superfund, was passed. The novel law gave EPA the authority and funds to hold polluters accountable for cleaning up the most contaminated sites across the country. When no viable responsible party is found or cannot afford the cleanup, funds appropriated by Congress are used. A tax on chemical and petroleum industries provided funds to the Superfund Trust fund for Superfund cleanups up until the taxing authority expired in 1995. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law reinstated the chemical excise taxes and invested an additional $3.5 billion in environmental remediation at Superfund sites, making it one of the largest investments in American history to address the legacy pollution that harms human health and the environment of communities and neighborhoods.

More information:

Raymark Industries, Inc. Superfund Site webpage: epa.gov/superfund/raymark

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