By Diana Bowley of the News Staff - DEXTER - More groundwork is expected to be done this spring at the former Fayscott Inc. plant to correct a contamination problem.
Water from storms overloads a treatment system on site, which causes contaminated water to overflow into a nearby bog and stream, according to Hank Aho, manager of the uncontrolled sites program for the state Bureau of Remediation, Department of Environmental Protection.
The contaminants are quickly diluted in water, so they pose no serious threat to Sebasticook Lake, where the stream ultimately empties, Aho said.
"The system did not have a chance to work effectively because the materials were either being passed through it too fast or were being shunted around it," Aho said this week. "It wasn't functioning as designed."
Groundwater at the former machine shop has been monitored routinely since the site came to the attention of state officials several years ago when the business changed hands.
The site was said to harbor pots of cyanide, barrels of heavy metals and chlorinated solvent left over from earlier years, but most of the contamination since has been cleaned up by the former owner, Aho said.
Although White Consolidated, which operated the machine shop and later merged with Electrolux, no longer owns the property, the company has assumed the responsibility for any environmental concerns that might arise from past dumping practices there.
The factory was purchased by employees in the late 1980s and later sold again, but neither party is responsible for the cleanup, he said.
The latest problem was discovered during routine monitoring, Aho said. The storm roof drains on site, and the water from the ditches overloaded the treatment system. Company officials began to rectify the problem last fall and will resume the work this spring.
Aho said the company installed an innovative bio-reaction chamber, a manufactured treatment system, that treats the groundwater.
In an ideal situation, the water on the property flows slow enough through the chamber for the microbes to be treated before the water empties into the stream.
Runoff from the area surrounding the property and from the factory's roof, however, has overloaded the chamber.
The company has rerouted the rainwater collection drains on the roof, which is clean water, into a culvert south of the parking lot, Aho said.
With the assistance of the Department of Transportation, engineered structures are being installed along the highway to divert the run-off from the road out and around the chamber. This will help reduce the water flow into the chamber to that which is on the property, according to Aho.
Aho said company officials have been very cooperative and are trying to correct the problem.
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