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ATSDR Press Room

ATSDR Releases Final Public Health Assessment For Leeds Metal

Leeds, Maine

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. A draft of the report was available for public comment from November 28, 2012 through 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.

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 PHA & HC For this Press Release

Leeds Metal NPL Site
Document Date: 4/9/2013 - PHA  [PDF - 2250 KB]

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Related News Releases For Leeds, Maine, USA


ATSDR Invites Public Comment on Draft Leeds Metal Report
Release Date: 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.

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