May 22, 2014

Companies to Clean Up New Jersey Superfund Site

Ten companies will pay to clean up contaminated groundwater at the Evor Phillips Leasing Co. site

EPA Groundwater Cleanup Evor Leasing Co. Super Fund Site New Jersey

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a final legal agreement with 10 companies to conduct the cleanup of contaminated groundwater at the Evor Phillips Leasing Co. Superfund site in Old Bridge Township, N.J. The groundwater beneath the 6-acre site is contaminated with volatile organic compounds from past industrial activities. The estimated $1.4 million cleanup will be conducted by Cabot Corp., Carpenter Technology Corp., CWM Chemical Services LLC, Ford Motor Co., International Flavors & Fragrances Inc., Johnson Matthey, Rutgers Organics Corp., Spectraserv Inc., Spiral Metal Co. LLC and Waste Management of New Jersey Inc., with EPA oversight of the work. The U.S. New Jersey District Court approved the proposed consent decree on May 6, 2014.

From the early 1970s to 1986, the Evor Phillips site was used for industrial waste treatment and metal recovery operations. Liquid waste was treated at the property, and two waste disposal areas were used to neutralize acidic and caustic wastewater. The site also contained 19 small furnaces for incinerating photographic film and printed circuit boards to recover silver and other precious metals. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) closed down the liquid waste treatment operations in 1975 after the operators failed to comply with state environmental requirements. All operations at the site stopped in 1986 with the shutdown of the metal recovery furnaces.

The site was listed on EPA’s Superfund list in 1983. Because of the nature and complexity of the contamination at the site, the cleanup has been done in three phases. The first phase, conducted by NJDEP, involved the removal of approximately 40 buried drums and soil contaminated by metals, and the construction of a groundwater treatment system to prevent the contaminated groundwater from moving off site. In 2002, several companies responsible for the contamination began operating the groundwater treatment system with NJDEP oversight. The companies also demolished office buildings and furnaces and removed buried drums, contaminated soil and underground storage tanks.

EPA took the lead in overseeing the cleanup in 2008. The second phase of the cleanup, the removal of contaminated soil, has been completed. The third phase, which will be conducted under the current agreement, is the long-term treatment of groundwater using a process known as chemical oxidation. This process uses chemicals to destroy pollution in soil and groundwater, breaking down the harmful chemicals into water and carbon dioxide. Oxidants are pumped into the groundwater at different depths, targeting polluted areas. Each injection is followed by monitoring to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment.

Samples of the groundwater will be collected and analyzed to ensure that the technology is effective. The groundwater will be monitored for several years after the cleanup goals have been met to demonstrate that the groundwater is no longer a source of contamination.