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Pohatcong Valley Groundwater Contamination
Washington, NJ

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Pat Seppi (212) 637-3679

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EPA added the Pohatcong Valley Groundwater Contamination Superfund site in Washington, Franklin, and Greenwich townships (Warren County) to the Superfund National Priorities List on March 30, 1989 because of elevated levels of volatile organic contaminants present in the aquifer.  These contaminants were detected in public supply wells in Washington Township, NJ.  These public supply wells treat the contamination to meet drinking water standards before the water is distributed.  The entire site includes a groundwater contaminant plume which is approximately nine miles long by approximately one and a half miles wide, covering about 2,746 acres.  

Trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PCE), both of which can pose human health threats, were found in the aquifer, the sole source of drinking water for the area. Because of the complexity of the site, EPA has divided the site into three parts.

The first, known as Operable Unit 1 or OU1, includes a large area of groundwater contamination located in Washington Borough, and encompasses about 5,600 acres. Most of the residents of this area receive drinking water from the a public water supply that meets drinking water standards.  EPA selected a remedy in 2006 to address this groundwater contamination, which includes the extraction and  treatment of contaminated groundwater.  An engineering design is currently being performed in order to implement this remedy.

The second part of the cleanup -- Operable Unit 2 or OU2 -- relates to TCE groundwater contamination adjacent to OU1 in Franklin and Greenwich.  There is no public water supply currently available in this area and potable wells that are impacted by contamination have received individual treatment units from NJDEP.  EPA selected a remedy which includes the construction of water line throughout the area to provide potable water in 2010.  This remedy is currently being designed.

The third part of the cleanup – Operable Unit 3 or OU3 – includes the former American National Can facility in Washington, Township, NJ, and three adjacent properties.  The former American Can facility is now owned by Albea Americas, Inc. The EPA is continuing its investigation of soil and sediment contamination in OU3.


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