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Waste Site Cleanup & Reuse in New England

Bostik Explosion, Middleton, MA

On March 13, 2011, an explosion occurred at the Bostik Company Adhesive and Sealant manufacturing facility in Middleton, MA, resulting in a fire that was extinguished by the Middleton Fire Department. Bostik was processing chemicals when the explosion occurred, blowing the sheet metal sides off the building. Chemicals at the facility included such volatile organic compounds as toluene, methyl ethyl ketone, acetone, and ether acetate. Some were stored in underground storage tanks located away from the buildings, but many drums and process reactors were present, including the reactor being used on the evening of the explosion. The concern was that a release of these chemicals could result from the explosion and subsequent fire and cause unsafe conditions at the facility, or they could migrate in the ambient air off-site to the residential neighborhood. Residual chemicals present after the event might volatilize into the air, causing unsafe conditions, or flow across the ground surface to the Ipswich River.

Based on a potential release of hazardous materials, EPA responded to assist the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. The MassDEP conducted ambient air monitoring using a portable gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer in their mobile lab and found about 200 ug/m3 of toluene at the facility and non-detect off site on Boston Street. The next day no volatile organic compounds were found in the air at the facility or off-site. MassDEP collected water samples from the Ipswich River and a swale beside the river. About two parts per billion of toluene were detected in the swale water sample, but no volatile organic compounds were found in the water sample collected from the river.

On March 14, 2011, the Middleton Fire Department and the town building inspector entered the building, monitored for volatile organic compounds using a photoionization detector and explosimeter and visually inspected for hazardous materials and conditions. No hazardous materials were detected, and oxygen levels were at ambient levels.

Location: Middleton, MA
EPA Mobilization Date*: 03/13/2011
EPA Demobilization Date*: 03/14/2011
Contact: Claudia Deane (deane.claudia@epa.gov)

*The information contained on this website is merely informational; any dates found on the website cannot be relied upon to create any rights, substantive or procedural, enforceable by any party in litigation with the United States. EPA reserves the right to change such dates at any time without public notice.

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