Alfred Heller Heat Treating
Vapor Intrusion Site Investigation
Sophia Kelley – (212) 637-3670
The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has initiated an investigation for potential vapor intrusion into homes and businesses in the vicinity of the former Alfred Heller Heat Treating facility located at 5 Wellington Street, Clifton, New Jersey 07010. During the months of February and March 2013, EPA will collect vapor samples from beneath the foundations of homes located between Merselis Avenue and East 11th Street. EPA will need to obtain access agreements from these residents to begin sampling.
EPA became involved at the Alfred Heller Heat Treating Site when the Clifton Fire Department (CFD) requested EPA to accompany them and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) on an inspection of the facility in early March 2009. The company was in bankruptcy and the CFD was concerned that hazardous materials were improperly stored inside the premises. During the initial inspection several drums of chemicals and hazardous materials were discovered along with partially filled vats, tanks and equipment reservoirs. Between April 2009 and January 2010, EPA conducted a removal action at the facility that included the removal and disposal of more than 500 drums of assorted chemicals as well as the cleanup of all wastes from vats, tanks and equipment reservoirs.
During the cleanup it became apparent that poor housekeeping practices at the facility had resulted in chemical spillage during plant operations. This discovery prompted EPA to test soil and ground water, leading to the confirmation of TCE contamination in the area and raising concerns about the potential risk of vapor intrusion of nearby homes and businesses.
The Alfred Heller Heat Treating Company was founded in 1933 to provide heat treating and metal finishing services to the metalworking industry in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area. The company moved to its present location in 1962. The facility is about four acres in size and contains six contiguous buildings. In January 2009, Alfred Heller Heat Treating entered into Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Sampling by EPA completed in March 2012 and combined with the results of a previous investigation revealed the presence of elevated levels of trichloroethene (TCE) [PDF 76 KB, 2 pp] in the ground water in the area of the former Alfred Heller Heat Treating facility. TCE was also found in elevated levels in soils on site property. TCE is a volatile organic compound and can emit vapors that may migrate through soils and into indoor air spaces of overlying buildings. Homes targeted for sampling have been determined to be at a low risk for vapor intrusion based on ground water sampling results.