Middlesex Sampling Plant
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Wanda Ayala (212) 637-3676
EPA added the Middlesex Sampling Plant (MSP) site to the National Priorities List on January 19, 1999 due to the presence of radiological and chemical contamination. The approximately 9.6-acre Superfund site in Middlesex, New Jersey was part of the nation’s early atomic energy program established by the Manhattan Engineer District in 1943. Activities at the site continued under the Atomic Energy Commission until 1967. The site was placed in the custody of the Department of Energy (DOE) in 1980 under the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program who performed numerous investigations as well as removal actions. However, in 1997, responsibility for further investigation and remedial activities was transferred to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) who currently oversees and monitors the site.
The contaminants identified when cleanup began in the 1980s were radioactive particles in the uranium and radium decay series, various metals (arsenic, chromium, and lead) and volatile organic compounds. Site investigations and monitoring indicated that elevated levels of contaminants were present in soils, sediments, groundwater beneath the site, and surface water moving through the site.
Various removal actions were undertaken by DOE at surrounding land parcels (i.e., Vicinity Properties and Middlesex Municipal Landfill) where contaminated fill from the MSP site had been transported to during the 1940s. Contaminated materials were excavated from the vicinity properties and Middlesex Municipal Landfill in the 1980s, put into interim storage at MSP, and eventually removed for off-site disposal in the late 1990s. The USACE conducted Remedial Investigation/Feasibility (RI/FS) Studies on both the site soils and the groundwater. The Record of Decision for the soils was signed in September 2005 and the remedy included excavation of contaminated soils to levels allowing for residential use with off-site disposal of the contaminated soils. The remedial action for the soils was completed in the spring of 2008 with a final inspection performed by EPA and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection in July 2008. The USACE’s Remedial Action Report is in the process of being finalized. The USACE completed a Draft Feasibility Study for the groundwater, however, it was determined that additional groundwater data still needs to be collected to fully develop alternatives for remediation.
In September 2009, EPA signed a Federal Facility Agreement (FFA) with the USACE and DOE for the MSP site. As a result, DOE will be responsible for long term surveillance, operation and maintenance of the MSP site once the USACE has completed all remedial actions.