The King Philip Mills site (the site) is located at 386 Kilburn Street, Fall River, Bristol County,Massachusetts (MA). The geographical coordinates at the approximate center of the site are 41°40′ 55″ north latitude and 71° 10′ 21″ west longitude. The approximately 5-acre site contains a series of interconnected mill factory buildings. The mill buildings consist of four four-story granite buildings and an adjacent two-story office building. The site is bordered to the north by Dwelly Street and residential properties, to the west by Kilburn Street and
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commercial/residential properties, to the south by a commercial property, and to the east by Cook Pond.
King Philip Mills was operated as a cotton mill from 1871 until approximately 1970. King Philip Mills was organized in 1871 and Mill number (No.) 1 was built. In 1881, Mill No. 2 was built. Mill No. 3 was added in 1888 for weaving, and Mill No. 4 was built in 1892. By 1917, the company had 134,000 spindles and 3,000 looms. In 1930, the property was sold to Berkshire Fine Spinning Associates. In 1983, the site was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Sometime during the 1990s, the buildings were divided into various rental units for storage or light manufacturing.
The King Philip Mills Site is an abandoned mill in a densely populated area of Fall River, MA. The population within one mile of the site is more than 29,000. There are no access restrictions to the Mill, and Police and Fire Department reports indicated multiple accounts of vandalism, attempted arson, and illegal occupancy, trespassing and dumping. The Fire Department has stated that the multi-building complex does not contain fire suppression systems. Following a January 2012 fire, the Fire Department conducted an inspection of the mill and found 55-gallon drums and other containers of potentially hazardous materials, including flammable solids, corrosives, paints, resins, sealers, solvents, and lubricants.
On 12 December 2013, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), EPA, and the City of Fall River Fire Department conducted a site walk through noting numerous small 1-to-5-gallon containers, and numerous 55-gallon containers throughout the mill complex. Many of these contained either latex paint or floor wax. Other small containers contained various alcohol-based cleaning products, household products, latex paints, or wood treatment oil (linseed oil).
On 13 March 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) On-Scene Coordinator (OSC) Sherry Banks and, Superfund Technical Assistance and Response Team (START) personnel conducted a Site Investigation. START contractors collected drum samples, soil samples, and tank and small container samples. Samples were submitted to EPA’s New England Regional Laboratory (NERL) and to Alpha Analytical in Westborough, MA.
The results confirmed the presence of hazardous substances including 55- gallons drums containing:
• Product or waste with an ignitability characteristic and a flashpoint of 26 °C. Ignitable waste can create fires under certain conditions, are spontaneously combustible, or have a flashpoint less than 60 °C (140 °F).
• Corrosive materials with a pH of 13. RCRA corrosivity wastes are acids or bases (pH less than or equal to 2, or greater than or equal to 12.5) that are capable of corroding metal containers, such as storage tanks, drums, and barrels.