Priority Cleanup List Includes Maine Scrap Yard

U.S. EPA adds former National Metal Converters site to the Superfund National Priorities list.

September 16, 2012
Recycling Today Staff
Auto Shredding

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is adding 12 sites that it says pose public health and environmental risks to the National Priorities List (NPL) for cleanup under the Superfund program.  

Among the 12 sites is a 36-acre parcel in Leeds, Maine, that hosted a scrap recycling company from 1969 to 1984.

According to the EPA's summary of the site’s condition, “Between 1969 and 1984, scrap metal recovery processes took place, performed by a series of site operators. Junk automobiles were shredded onsite, where nonrecyclable material, known as auto fluff, was stockpiled.”

Regarding the hazards, EPA says, “The approximately 40,000 cubic yards of auto fluff waste present at the site are fully exposed and uncontained.  Gasoline and other fluids from junk cars were dumped directly onto the ground and as many as 100 drums were staged along the tree line in the southern part of the site. The Leeds Fire Department has responded to numerous fires at the site. The site is currently inactive and unoccupied, and appears to have remained abandoned since operations ceased in 1984.”

Hazardous substances found at the site, according to EPA, include polychorinated biphenyls (PCBs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), tetrachloroethene (PCE), trichloroethene (TCE) and metals (arsenic, cadmium, chromium and lead).

A 2011 Maine Department of Environmental Protection document lists the Maine Central Railroad (now known as Pan Am Railways) as the owner of the property and National Metal Converters Inc. as the company that leased the land and ran an auto shredder from 1969 to 1976.