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Woods Woolen Mill

Site Contact:
Michael Cofsky
On Scene Coordinator


Site Location:
25 West Mill Street
Hillsboro, NH 03244

The Site is located along the banks of the Contoocook River and is bordered by the Contoocook River to the west and north, by West Mill Street to the east, by a wooded area to the south with a New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development (NHDRED) right-of-way (ROW) passing through from north to south. It formerly encompassed a three-story (with basement) wooden mill building, a one-story wheel house, a five-and-half-story tower, a two-story brick boiler house, a one-story washing and dye house, a one-story storage building (warehouse just northeast of the dye house), and a small former office building. The former boiler house and office building are both in a state of disrepair and are structurally unsound; all other structures have been demolished. The remainder of the Site is currently covered with a mix of former building foundations, demolition debris, and vegetation.

The Woods Woolen Mill utilized the Contoocook River to power weaving looms which produced cloth for various clothing and overcoat products. The mill operated and produced cloth for various clothing and overcoat products from the late 1800s up until the mid-1980s, when it was abandoned. Raw materials used before 1952 reportedly included wool, cotton, burr, roving, rayon, silk, and camel hair. Natural and synthetic dyes and finishing chemicals were also used and stored on-site. During the time of operations, the structures included the original mill building, a boiler house, a warehouse building, and an office/residential building. The original mill-building and the warehouse building were demolished in 1999 and 2009, respectively. The only remaining structures on Site are the boiler house and the office/residential building.

Sampling analysis by EPA determined that asbestos, a hazardous substance as defined by Section 101(14) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), 42 U.S.C. §9601(14), and 40 C.F.R. § 302.4, is present in concentrations ranging from 2% to 10% in building materials in and around the former boiler house.

The former boiler house has deteriorated such that the roof has partially collapsed and building materials which were confirmed to contain asbestos were evidenced on the ground adjacent to the building. The structure is unstable and its locations near residential and commercial properties creates a risk of exposure to ACM to the public and to the environment.

Sampling and analysis by EPA determined lead, a hazardous substance as defined by Section 101(14) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), 42 U.S.C. §9601(14), and 40 C.F.R. § 302.4, is present in surface soils at concentrations up to 1,300 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg). Previous soil sampling conducted by contractor for the Town of Hillsborough also confirmed the presence of lead in soils in concentrations up to 6,600 mg/kg.

Although there is a chain link fence surrounding the Site, clear evidence of trespassing is present in the form of trash and graffiti.

The April 1, 2021 Closure Memorandum concludes that a time-critical removal action is warranted.