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Ellis Property
Evesham and Medford Townships, NJ

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Record of Decision Amendment [7.5 MB, 160 pp]

The Ellis Property is a 36-acre tract of land located in Evesham and Medford Townships. The property is surrounded by farmland and wooded lots. The site, originally a dairy farm, was used for drum storage and reconditioning operations. Approximately 4 acres of the 36-acre tract were directly involved in this operation. The site included a large two-story building housing several washing tanks and troughs, and 50 to 75 drums, many full. There were also three sheds, which contained drums of various sizes and chemical containers. An area adjacent to the sheds contained about one hundred 55-gallon plastic drums, most of which still contained some liquid. A total of approximately 300 containers were discovered at the site. Some of the drums had corroded or otherwise deteriorated so that the contents had leaked onto the ground. The shallow Englishtown Aquifer underlies the site, with other aquifers about 300 feet below. Ground water in the vicinity serves as a drinking water source for approximately 900 homes, and for the irrigation of farmland. There are about 20 potable wells within a 1-mile radius of the site. Approximately 3,500 people live within a three-mile radius of the Ellis Property; the nearest residence is about 2,500 feet from the site. The closest surface water body is Sharps Run, approximately 1/4 mile north of the site. Drainage from the site flows east through a natural swale and trenches into a wetland area. Drainage from the wetlands eventually leads to Sharps Run.

The shallow ground water is contaminated with volatile organic chemicals or VOCs, including trichloroethylene (TCE) and tetrachloroethylene (PCE), and heavy metals, including arsenic, chromium and lead. The surface soils are contaminated with VOCs, heavy metals and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Surface water and sediments at the site show elevated levels of heavy metals and TCE. Ground water contamination appears to be limited to the shallow aquifer. People may be at risk from direct contact with contaminated soil, or accidental ingestion of the contaminated groundwater and soil. Ecological communities were found to be at marginal, but not unacceptable, risk from the contaminants in the wetland.

EPA performed several removal actions to alleviate immediate risks posed by the site. Approximately one ton of lime was used to neutralize the acid soil spill. Removal of the remaining drums and containerized materials was completed in 1990. Under the remedial action for soil, approximately 1,000 cubic yards (1,600 tons) of contaminated soil were excavated and backfilled with clean soil, and the ground-water remedy is underway. NJDEP established a classification exemption area for the contaminated portion of the aquifer to prevent the installation of new wells. Contaminated soils were removed from the site. The ground water remedy is ongoing. NJDEP and EPA are currently evaluating changes to the ground water remedy to speed up the cleanup process.

In 1992, EPA selected a remedy to address volatile organic compound (VOC) contamination in the soil and groundwater at Ellis.  This 1992 Record of Decision (ROD) called for the excavation and off-site disposal of contaminated soils, and construction of a groundwater collection and treatment system to restore the contaminated aquifer. 

The soil component of the remedy was completed in 1998 and the groundwater collection and treatment system began operation in 2000.  EPA and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Conservation (NJDEP) monitored the performance of the pump and treat system at Ellis and determined that is has only been partially effective in addressing contamination at the site.  Further investigations revealed additional sources of VOC contamination in the subsurface soils at several areas of the site.  These sources are contributing to groundwater contamination and are preventing the groundwater collection and treatment system from restoring the aquifer.  As a result, the goal of the remedy for groundwater, aquifer restoration, could not be achieved within a reasonable time frame using the existing system.
EPA selected a remedy in 2013 to address the additional contamination  identified at the site.  The 2013 ROD consists of excavation and off-site disposal of the contaminated soil.  EPA believes that it will take approximately one year to excavate the sources of groundwater contamination, followed by several years of monitoring to confirm the effective remediation of the groundwater plume


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