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Verbatim: EPA announces cleanup of Columbia City site

The Environmental Protection Agency issued this announcement this afternoon:

CHICAGO (March 2, 2011) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this week began cleaning up hazardous materials left behind when Testworth Laboratories Inc. closed last year in Columbia City, Indiana.

The EPA is removing numerous drums and other containers of flammable, corrosive and hazardous chemicals at the request of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

An inspection of the site, located on Main Street in a mixed residential and commercial neighborhood, revealed signs of trespassing inside the building. Many of the containers were found to be open, leaking or in otherwise poor condition.

Under the EPA’s direction, contractors will take 10-12 weeks to package and remove the hazardous materials. All hazardous materials will be disposed of at approved facilities. Workers will wear protective gear. The EPA will spend about $700,000 on the cleanup. As part of a safety plan to protect residents and workers, the EPA will conduct air monitoring in and around the site.

Testworth was founded in 1941. The company manufactured rubber-based adhesives, coatings, moldings and sealers. The Indiana State Fire Marshall and the IDEM first inspected the facility in 2006 and found about 3,000 drums of various products and waste materials. Under an order from the EPA, the company conducted its own cleanup and continued operations. State inspectors returned to Testworth in 2010. They again found unsafe conditions and shut down the facility.

For more information, contact the EPA’s community involvement coordinator, Virginia Narsete, at narsete.virginia@epa.gov or call 800-621-8431, Ext. 64359, between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., weekdays. Residents may also get information at the work trailer at the cleanup site, at Columbia City Hall and online at www.epa.gov/region5/sites/testworthlabs/index.html.

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