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ATSDR Press Room

ATSDR Invites Public Comment on Draft Leeds Metal Report

Leeds, Maine

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

More study is needed at the Leeds Metal site to determine whether the community was or is being harmed by possible exposures at the site, says the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) in its draft public health assessment. The report is available for public comment until January 28, 2013.

The Leeds, ME site was an automobile shredding and metal recovery operation that left behind massive piles of residue called auto fluff. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has listed the Leeds Metal Site on the National Priorities List of contaminated sites.

ATSDR evaluated limited data on nearby private wells and soil on the site to see if chemicals from the site could affect nearby residents or trespassers. ATSDR found that:

  • Water from private wells near the site may contain trichloroethylene or other volatile organic compounds from the site. However, the levels are either too low to cause harm or the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (ME DEP) has provided carbon filters to well owners.
  • Private well water may contain harmful levels of arsenic, which occurs in many parts of Maine.
  • Trespassers are unlikely to be harmed by contaminants in soil, but the site contains physical hazards such as steep and possibly unstable slopes, sharp pieces of metal and rebar, and at least one concrete pit containing standing water.

ATSDR recommends:

  • ME DEP should keep sampling all private wells to make sure filters are working and find out if other wells need carbon filters.
  • Residents whose private wells contain arsenic above drinking water standards should consider installing a reverse osmosis treatment system or switching to another source of drinking water. Carbon filters will not remove arsenic from water. Homeowners are encouraged to consult for more information about treatment systems for private wells.
  • Site property owners or EPA should install effective fencing, gates, and warning signs to keep trespassers from entering the site.
  • EPA should continue investigating contamination at the site.
  • The site should not be used for other purposes without additional public health evaluation.

ATSDR’s report is available for review at A copy of the report has also been placed at the Leeds Town Office, 8 Community Drive in Leeds.

ATSDR staff will be available to discuss the findings and answer questions on Wednesday, December 12, from 3:00 to 6:00 pm at the Leeds Town Office, 8 Community Drive in Leeds. EPA and ME DEP officials will also be present to answer questions about their activities at the site.

ATSDR welcomes public comments on the Leeds Metal Public Health Assessment through January 28, 2013.

Comments received during the public comment period (without the names of who submitted them) and ATSDR's responses to these comments will appear in an appendix to the final public health assessment. Names of those who submit comments, however, will be subject to release in answer to requests made under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Send comments to:, or mail to:

Attention: Rolanda Morrison
RE: Leeds Metal Site, Leeds, ME
ATSDR Records Center
1600 Clifton Road, NE (MS F-09)
Atlanta, GA 30333

For more information, call 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636).

ATSDR, a federal public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, evaluates the potential for adverse human health effects due to exposure to hazardous substances in the environment.

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Related News Releases For Leeds, Maine, USA


ATSDR Releases Final Public Health Assessment For Leeds Metal
Release Date: Tuesday, April 09, 2013
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has released its final public health assessment for the Leeds Metal site in Leeds, Maine (ME). The report finds that more study is needed to determine whether the community was or is being harmed by possible exposures at the site.

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