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Woodford/Bennington Superfund Site To Undergo 2015 Review

This EPA map of the Burgess Brothers Landfill Superfund Site shows the flow of contaminated groundwater through the site.

This week the New England office of the federal Environmental Protection Agency announced it will be reviewing two dozen hazardous site cleanups during 2015. Twenty of those are designated Superfund Sites, one of which is in Vermont.

The Burgess Brothers Landfill site consists of less than three acres that straddle the town line between Woodford and Bennington. The Union Carbide battery manufacturing plant in Bennington used the landfill to dispose of lead sludge and other hazardous wastes, prompting the site's Superfund designation. Here's how the EPA describes the site:

The 2-3-acre Burgess Brothers Landfill Site is located on the Woodford and Bennington town line. The site is still owned by the Burgess family and borders the Green Mountain National Forest. Burgess Brothers Construction Company operated the facility as a sand pit, salvage yard, and landfill from the 1940s until the mid-1970s. Union Carbide Corp.'s Bennington Plant disposed of wastes from battery manufacturing at the site, an unknown quantity of lead sludge, and the equivalent of 47,780 drums of hazardous wastes. The wastes were dumped into and buried in unlined settling lagoons located on the landfill. Studies have determined that soils, groundwater, and surface water both on and downgradient of the site are contaminated with heavy metals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

The Burgess Brothers Landfill was put on the EPA's National Priorities List, giving it Superfund designation, in 1989. Major cleanup efforts at the site concluded in 2000, after which the project went into what the EPA calls its "operation and maintenance phase." Prior five-year reviews of the project were conducted in 2005 and 2010.

The clean-up included installing a landfill cap and constructing a "soil vapor extraction system" to address groundwater contamination. In 2011, after the last five-year review, the EPA reported levels of  groundwater contamination had increased and moved beyond the landfill property. The agency proposed further remediation, but no action has been  taken to date.

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