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Waste Site Cleanup & Reuse in New England

Durasol Corporation Chemical Release

Emergency response at Durasol Corporation Chemical Release, Amesbury, Mass.

The Amesbury Fire Department learned that a sprinkler was active at the Durasol Corporation building at 9:25 am on Oct. 7, 2010. Durasol, which makes erasers, denture glues, denture cushions and miscellaneous vinyl products, shared a 75,000-square-foot building with several other tenants, including a woodworking company, a sign making company and an art studio. It sat in a mixed residential/commercial area with two schools within a quarter mile.

The fire department found water had leaked from a faulty sprinkler pipe in the "reaction" room and reacted with sulfur monochloride, a chemical that is dangerous when wet and which can decompose to form hydrochloric acid and sulfur dioxide. The fire department immediately shut down the sprinkler system and evacuated the building. A state Haz Mat Team was mobilized. The fire department contacted the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection, which notified EPA. Durasol hired a contractor to do the cleanup.

The Haz Mat Team reported that afternoon that it did not detect chlorine or sulfur dioxide and that the atmosphere was neutral. The team concluded that the gas cloud which had been seen earlier, had dissipated. The Durasol contractor also reported it didn’t find any gases at a detectable level.

EPA arrived later in the afternoon. Group inspections by personnel from EPA, OSHA, DEP, the local fire department and board of health, contractors and Durasol that afternoon and the next day turned up a number of problems in the building, including: corroded piping; unlabelled flasks, some containing sulfur monochloride; open-top steel drums; about 20 drums of sulfur monochloride, mineral spirit, rubber solvent (flammable) and vegetable oil staged together; drums covered with unsecured plastic lids; mislabeled or unlabeled drums; a capped sprinkler disconnected from the rest of the sprinkler system; 40 waste drums that had been discovered by the fire department in 2009, some of which were temporarily covered by plastic sheets; several drums of chemicals, some covered in plastic and many mislabeled; steel plates covering holes in the floor and tenants with operations involving spray painting using flammable solvents.

Durasol reported it did not have a spill prevention, control and countermeasure, or SPCC, plan.

On Oct. 8, Durasol repackaged 40 waste drums that the company was supposed to have disposed of offsite in 2009. The fire department ordered the company closed until a fire protection engineer could evaluate the firefighting and electrical systems. The contractor secured all containers before the facility was shut down.

On March 11, 2011, Durasol submitted a final SPCC plan to EPA and signed a settlement agreement on Aug. 18, 2011, which included an $8,000 penalty for the SPCC violations. On May 18, 2011, Durasol permanently shut down its manufacturing operation.

Location: One Oakland St., Amesbury, Mass.
EPA Mobilization Date*: 10/07/2010
EPA Demobilization Date*: 10/08/2010
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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