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Pelham Yard Owners Agree to Pay for Part of Contaminated Site Cleanup Costs

Boston, MA - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reached an agreement with the owners of the Gendron Junkyard in Pelham, New Hampshire to recover part of the cost of a hazardous waste cleanup on their property.

Under the consent decree entered in U.S. District Court in Concord, Frederick and Elizabeth Gendron will arrange to pay EPA $650,000 for the cleanup. The Gendrons claimed they were not able to pay all of EPA's costs at the site. EPA spent about $2.6 million on the cleanup effort, which began in April 1998 and was completed in December 2000.

"This agreement finally brings to a close EPA's work at the junkyard site and underscores the agency's commitment to making sure that those responsible for pollution pay for at least part of the cost of cleanup," said Ira Leighton, acting deputy regional administrator of EPA's New England office.

The Gendrons have run their business on three-and-a-half acres of land on Hobbs Road in Pelham since 1955. A number of homes abut the property.

Originally, the Gendrons sold and repaired automobiles and bought and sold scrap metals and other parts. The business later turned to scrap metal recycling and pressing and shredding of automobiles.

The shredding processó which began in the mid-1970só generated a waste known as auto shredder residue (ASR) or auto "fluff." In 1997, when the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services and EPA began investigating environmental contamination at the property, a pile of ASR measuring approximately 10,000 cubic yards was on the Gendron property. The Gendron ASR pile was contaminated with cadmium, lead, and polychlorinated bi-phenyls (PCBs). These contaminants had leached from the pile and polluted the surrounding soil.

EPA's cleanup of the site included three steps:

  • Excavating and treating the 6,000-ton ASR pile and shipping it to an approved landfill for proper disposal.
  • Extensive sampling effort to determine where the ASR-contaminated soil was.
  • Restoration of a wetland that had been filled by junkyard operations.

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