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Chemical Control Corporation
Elizabeth, NJ

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Natalie Loney - (212) 637-3639 loney.natalie@epa.gov

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The Chemical Control Corporation (CCC) site is a 2-acre parcel of land adjacent to the Elizabeth River located in a primarily industrial area. The site, which was formerly a marsh, is flat and barely above sea level.   From 1970 to 1978, CCC operated as a hazardous waste storage, treatment, and disposal facility, accepting various types of chemicals including: acids, arsenic, bases, cyanides, flammable solvents, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), compressed gases, biological agents, and pesticides. Throughout its operations, CCC was cited by the State of New Jersey for discharge and waste storage violations.

In 1979, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) initiated a site cleanup that included removal of drums, gas cylinders, infectious wastes, radioactive wastes, highly explosive liquids, debris, tanks, and 3 feet of soil. An explosion and fire in 1980 interrupted the site cleanup.  The site was completely destroyed and reportedly, drums of burning waste launched into the air. Contaminated runoff from the firefighting efforts entered the Elizabeth River.  After the fire and explosion, the preliminary cleanup was accelerated and was completed in 1981.

The sediments of the Elizabeth River and the on-site soils were contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), pesticides, acid and base/neutral extractables, and metals. The subsurface soil was contaminated with VOCs. During its investigations, EPA evaluated sediments in the Elizabeth River. The site is located near estuaries and critical habitats for estuarine fauna; these areas could be threatened by contaminated waters and sediments.

The site cleanup was addressed in three stages: immediate actions and two long-term remedial phases directed at controlling the source of contamination and cleanup of the entire site.  Starting in the early 1980s, EPA performed immediate actions at the site to ensure human and environmental safety. These actions included: removing and decontaminating 11 box trailers and one vacuum truck; clearing plugged storm sewers; sampling and removing 187 gas cylinders that were left at the site and one taken from the Elizabeth River; performing a limited site investigation and a focused evaluation of the alternatives for cleanup to confirm reports that drums from the site had entered the river; and removing all the containers that were found adjacent to the site.

After performing the immediate actions, EPA reconstructed storm sewer catch basins and grates, constructed curbing to prevent runoff of contaminated sediments, and decontaminated five box trailers. Harmless gases were vented, while certain easily treated gases were neutralized on site. Dangerous gases were shipped off site for proper disposal. EPA transported all hazardous materials generated by these cleanup actions to a federally approved disposal site. All activities for this stage of site cleanup were completed by 1990.

In 1987, EPA selected a final remedy for the site soils. The cleanup remedy chosen addressed the contaminated soil on site by: (1) combining the contaminated soil with a solidification agent that will harden so that the contaminants cannot migrate from the site; (2) removing debris from earlier cleanup actions, including water collected while installing monitoring wells, items recovered from the Elizabeth River under the initial cleanup action, used disposable equipment, and the decontamination pad; (3) sealing the sanitary sewer line under the site where it connects to the South Front Street storm sewer; (4) repairing the berm that separates the site from the Elizabeth River;and (5) collecting and analyzing environmental samples to ensure the effectiveness of the remedy, including an periodic evaluation to assess protectiveness of public health and the environment.  Construction of the final remedy for the site was completed in December 1993.

EPA conducted its first Five-year review of the remedy in 1998, the review did not indicate any leachate emanating from the solidified mass.  All three on-site monitoring wells were sampled for vinyl chloride and 2-butanone, the indicator parameters for the site. Two of the three monitoring wells, indicated sharp reductions in the concentrations for the indicator parameters, since construction of the remedy.  Contamination in the other well, well CW-1 saw similar reductions after completion of the remedy, but the levels have not dropped off further. In determining why reduction in well CW-1 was less than the other wells, the PRPs undertook a soil sampling effort around the wells. The results of this study indicated that some of the contamination found in the wells resulted from residual soils that were not remediated during the remedial action. These soils are located outside of the slurry wall, in a narrow area along the bank of the Elizabeth River and were inaccessible to heavy-duty equipment during  the remediation. EPA and the PRPs agreed on implementing in-situ bio-remediation of the soils and groundwater within the area of concern by applying oxygen and hydrogen reducing compounds. The applications showed significant reduction in concentrations of vinyl chloride and 2-butanone, no reduction was observed for hydrocarbon compounds such as benzene, toluene, xylene or ethybenzene. In 2009, EPA conducted its third Five-Year Review at the site, based on its review, EPA found the remedy continues to be protective of human health and the environment. The next Five-Year Review is scheduled to be conducted in 2014, EPA is currently exploring the deletion of the site from the NPL.


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