Farm Pollution May Originate from Up to 7 points, Officials
many a seven plumes of contamination may be responsible
for the underground pollution around East Austin's gasoline
tank farm, Texas Water Commission officials said Friday.
At least two of the plumes, they
said, may be caused by leaking underground fuel tanks
not associated with the tank farm.
"We think we have the plumes
pretty well defined now, and we are pressing ahead to
clean up the soil and water contamination," said Ken Ramirez,
the commission's deputy director.
Agency specialists said they
are not planning to require the removal of the contaminated
soils as part of that cleanup.
"We haven't ruled it out, but
we haven't ruled it in, either," said David Ruckman, who
is overseeing the cleanup for the agency. "You'd be talking
about a major project to remove soil, and we'd like to
avoid that if possible. Plus, what you'd be doing is picking
up the contaminated soil one place and moving it to another
Ruckman said a string of test
wells around the six fuel terminals, which are on a 52-acre
site at Springdale Road and Airport Boulevard, show one
plume of tainted groundwater beneath the Chevron site.
That plume, likely resulting
from a 1987 spill of more than 12,500 gallons of gasoline,
apparently has seeped beneath the neighboring Exxon terminal,
A second plume apparently lies
under the adjacent Mobil and Star Enterprise terminals,
just to the south, according to Ruckman. He said Star
may have a separate contamination plume on another portion
and is running additional tests.
A fourth plume, he said, emanates
from the Coastal States terminal on Jain Lane. And a fifth
plume extends from the site of a 1988 pipeline break at
the edge of the neighboring Citgo terminal.
Groundwater contamination has
also been found beneath a Kraft Foods plant, across Airport
Boulevard from the Star Enterprise terminal, according
to Water Commission officials. That apparently resulted
from a leaking underground tank and is to be cleaned up,
"There may be another plume beneath
the area of Airport and Bolm (Road), but at this point
we're not sure whether it's coming from Citgo" or a Payless
gas station-convenience store at that intersection, he
When the controversy over underground
pollution at the fuel terminals began five months ago,
officials speculated that contamination resulted from
two and possibly three plumes. Additional test wells and
monitoring work by experts led to the additional details,
Ruckman and Robin Shaver with
Water Commission's underground storage tank unit said
several of the six oil companies that operate the fuel
terminals are being asked to drill additional test wells
to provide a better definition of the plumes. Most of
that work will take place south of the Coastal and Citgo
terminals, they said.
"We're at the point where we
think we've got a good handle on where the plumes are
and where we don't need to do a lot more tests as an agency,"
Ruckman said. "We're now getting the oil companies to
take the ball on this
things cleaned up."
As part of the cleanup, several
oil companies have proposed pumping out contaminated groundwater
and cleansing it of gasoline contaminants that have seeped
underground. But removal of contaminated soil, sought
by neighborhood residents to prevent recontamination,
is not among those plans at present, officials said.
"We have not established any
exposure risk to humans" from leaving the tainted soil
in place, Shaver said. "It's 20 feet below the surface.
There shouldn't be any danger."
Nonetheless, Ramirez and Ruckman
said soil removalwhich would make a cleanup much
more expensive and could force relocation of some residentshas
not been ruled out as an option. Ramirez said monitoring
wells could be used to check any future pollution, once
groundwater steps are complete.
Neighborhood leaders said they
want the soil cleaned up.
"The oil companies must clean
up what they messed up," said Ron Davis, who heads the
East Austin Strategy Team, a coalition of community groups.
"They need to clean it up at their expense. And if the
Water Commission does not want to execute the will of
the people, they should step aside."
June 27, 1992, Austin, Texas
Firms Ante Up Share of the Bill To Cleanse Toxic Site in Newark
By Bill Ganno
Three companies have agreed
to pay part of the Federal government's $22 million
cleanup of the White Chemical Corp. Superfund site in
Newark, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced
According to the terms of a
Superfund unilateral order issued by the EPA late last
month, Monsanto Co., Inc., PPG Industries, Inc. and
Rhone Poulenc AG Co. have agreed to share in the costs
of the cleanup.
But the owner of the 4.4 acre
site, the bankrupt operator of the plant and five hazardous
waste generators have all refused to help pay for the
cleanup and may be targets for future legal action,
EPA officials noted.
The company manufactured acid
chlorides and flame retardant compounds used by agricultural,
pharmaceutical and building products industries at its
Frelinghuysen Avenue plant.
The EPA took control of the
site in August 1990, several months after a raid on
the plant by State investigators from the Attorney General's
Office and the Department of Environmental Protection
and Energy (DEPE).
At the time of the raid, shocked
DEPE investigators found more than 11,000 drums of hazardous
materials strewn around the property. Also found were
thousands of deteriorating laboratory containers, gas
cylinders and improperly stored chemicals.
The conditions at the facility
were so dangerous that the Agency for Toxic Substances
and Disease Registry warned that the site and the cleanup
process could create hazards such as vapor releases,
fires, or even explosions.
The site, officials said at
the time of the raid, posed a serious health risk to
the neighborhood of some 12,000 residents who live within
a half mile of the plant.
Located less than a mile from
Weequahic Park, Newark International Airport, the Anheuser-Busch
brewery as well as several manufacturing facilities and
hotels, office buildings and businesses along nearby busy
Routes 1 and 9, members of the Newark and Elizabeth city
council say the site has been an environmental nightmare
waiting to happen.
DEPE inspectors found that White's
improper management of stored toxic and hazardous material
had resulted in numerous open containers, frequent releases
of hazardous chemicals, damaged, bulging, unlabeled containers,
numerous spills and incompatible materials being improperly
The site was proposed for inclusion
on the Superfund national priorities list in a special
update in May 1990 and finalized on Sept. 25, 1991. Superfund
is the Federal program to clean up abandoned or inactive
hazardous waste sites.
So far, the Federal agency has
spent more than $10.5 million on the removal of thousands
of drums and other containers of hazardous materials from
the White property. Before EPA took control of the site,
DEPE spent more than $825,000 in cleanup costs.
The EPA has inventoried and sampled
approximately 7-9,000 drums and 110 tank vessels as well
as categorized and separated over 12,500 lab containers,
officials said yesterday.
Of the 11,600 drums found on
site, 4,000 empty containers were cleaned and sent away
for recycling. EPA has also recycled 48,000 pounds of
solid materials and 36,000 gallons of liquid materials.
More than 50 gas cylinders have
been returned to the original manufacturers while some
60,000 gallons of liquid wastes, including acids from
1,700 drums, have been drained and stored
in tanks on site.
"To date, as a result of regional
enforcement efforts, private parties have contributed
approximately $500 million in Superfund settlements in
New Jersey," EPA Administrator William Reilly said in
a prepared statement issued by the agency.
"The Superfund emergency removal
program used fast-track hazardous waste cleanup methods
to stabilize the White Chemical site," Reilly said.
White Chemical moved to Newark
in 1983, leaving behind another polluted tract in Bayonne.
DEPE had cited the company in 1979 for violations, including
unlawful storage of hazardous waste.
The Bayonne site is now also
under consideration for possible inclusion on the Superfund
list, according to State environmental prosecutor, Assistant
Attorney General Steven Madonna.
Madonna initiated a probe of
the plant that lead to the indictment of the firm and
its owner, James White, by a grand jury.
In a May 7 plea bargain agreement
with Madonna's office, White, 68, pleaded guilty in Superior
Court in Newark to two counts of the five count indictment,
admitting he illegally stored and disposed of more than
2,000 drums of dangerous chemicals at his plant.
As part of the plea, the State
will recommend White serve at least 364 days in jail,
serve five years probation and be sentenced to 2,000 hours
of community service upon his release from jail.
The conviction on the two counts
of unlawful storage and disposal are both third-degree
crimes and carry potential sentences of between three
and five years and a fine of up to 7,500. Sentencing before
Superior Court Judge Richard Newman in Newark is scheduled
for June 22.
June 5, 1992, Newark, New Jersey
Saegertown Superfund Site Cleanup
Gets a "Cleaner" Plan
By Judy Acker
Changes have been approved for
proposed cleanup of the Saegertown Superfund site, eliminating
the need for on-site incineration of toxic soil.
Both the Environmental Protection
Agency and GATX Corp., former owners of the industrial
area, have OK'd a new, cheaper cleanup plan which could
save GATX as much as $7 million and cut down on dust and
smoke generated by the incineration process.
The 100-acre area, on the southeast
side of Saegertown along Route 198, was the site of a
former GATX repair facility for railroad tank cars, in
operation from 1951 to 1967.
EPA placed the site on the Superfund
cleanup list in 1990 after finding soil and groundwater
were contaminated by toxic waste products.
GATX, now headquartered in Chicago,
is a management business for acid-based transportation.
The firm leases railroad tank cars and offers full service
including repair and maintenance of the cars.
Caren Arnstein of ENSR Consulting
and Engineering contracted by GATX to design and
oversee the on-site cleanup operationsaid GATX submitted
a formal request to EPA on Jan. 9 to modify the cleanup
cleanup was to be done by a mobile incinerator. GATX now
has asked EPA to allow for offsite treatment.
The plan provides GATX would
excavate the contaminated soils and materials and ship
them to existing facilities for treatment. Soil contaminated
by heavy tars would be shipped to Wampum, south of New
Castle, and other contaminated soils would be sent to
either Kansas or South Carolina to be detoxified.
GATX said the alternative plan
would be faster, less expensive and just as safe as on-site
incineration. In addition, the plan provides a use for
the materials excavated at the site through energy recovery
and materials recycling.
EPA will prepare an "Explanation
of Significant Difference" required as part of the Superfund
process. The new proposal is expected to meet no resistance
from Superfund officials.
GATX has retained ENSR and other
experienced environmental contractors to conduct excavation
"This change will benefit the
Saegertown community because it will eliminate the need
for an on-site incinerator, and will result in faster
completion of on-site
activities," said Jay Grove, GATX senior environmental
"We share the borough's concerns
about remediating the site as quickly and as safely as
possible, so the land may be developed for productive
use," he said.
Grove said the new plan is as
safe of safer than the previous one for the residents
of Saegertown, because it complies with all State and
Federal regulations and won't require new permits.
Steve Donohue of EPA said the
proposal is justifiable for several reasons: it's faster,
the waste will be treated as effectively with resource
conservation now possible, and cost would be reduced to
half of the estimated $14 million proposed in the original
With the new plan, the estimated
completion data for remediation is February 1996.
Donohue will be available for
a public question and answer session Feb. 21 from 7 to
9 p.m. at the Saegertown Borough Building.
June 27, 1995,
Set For Toxic Site
By Arnold Abrams
It looks like another empty lot in a scraggly industrial
area, unappetizing but harmless. Lurking unseen beneath
the ground on the half-acre site in Garden City, however,
are chemical solvents and petroleum products that have
seeped into the dirt and threaten to contaminate public
That much was determined more
than a decade ago by Nassau County and Hempstead Town
authorities, who ran a series of tests and then
filed formal complaints against the Pasley Solvents and
Chemicals Co., which had used the site as a chemical distribution
facility since 1969.
Pasley declared bankruptcy soon
after the county and State acted, but nothing was done
to the site. By June 1986, it had been designated as one
of Long Island's worst hazardous waste sites. It also
had been placed on the Federal Environmental Protection
Agency's national list of Superfund sites requiring remedial
Such action now is about to begin
at the Pasley site.
News about the project came last
month, when EPA officials announced that approximately
$14 million will be spent to remove waste and eliminate
hazards at the site.
June 15, 1992, Garden City, New York
To Begin Glen Ridge Cleanup; W. Orange Radium Work Continues
By Caryl R. Lucas
The U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) this week will make way for the excavation
of radium-contaminated soil from seven homes in Glen Ridge,
as a cleanup project moves forward in West Orange.
Pat Seppi, an EPA spokeswoman,
said yesterday the Federal agency was able to move up
its Superfund cleanup project in Glen Ridge because excavation
of radium-contaminated soil from 15 homes in West Orange
is going well.
Project coordinator Romona Pezzelli
said the agency had been scheduled to begin the cleanup
at the seven homes on Carteret Street in the fall. The
cleanup also will include a contaminated section of Carteret
Park, where the EPA has set up trailers on a portion of
"In West Orange, eight homes
have been completed," said Seppi. In February, the agency
began excavating tainted soil from properties on James
Court and Alan and Maple streets in West Orange following
completion of the cleanup project at 15 Montclair
Seppi said two of the six West
Orange families who were relocated have moved back. She
anticipates all of the homes there will be restored within
As part of EPA's plan to have
work going on in all three communities concurrently, Seppi
said the agency began its preliminary work and surveys
in Glen Ridge last month.
"We expect to start driving the
sheet piling this week and begin other aspects of construction,"
Last week, one of the Glen Ridge
families whose property will be remediated was relocated
temporarily, Seppi said. Two other families are expected
to be relocated this week, while the remaining families
will be moved by the first week of July.
Saying the majority of the Glen
Ridge Properties are among the most severely contaminated
homes, Seppi said the cleanup project will take up to
Under a 10-year, $250 million
Superfund project, the EPA will remove tainted soil from
in the three Essex County towns. In all, the Federal government
discovered contaminated soil on 747 properties designated
Superfund sites in Essex County.
Glen Ridge Mayor Carolyn Bourne
praised the EPA officials for their cooperation on the
"I am pleased at this point,"
she said. "Things are going right on schedule."
At the request of borough officials,
Bourne said the EPA reduced the amount of space it is
using for its trailers and work compound. She also commended
the EPA for purchasing new equipment for the park's playground.
June 16, 1992, Newark, New Jersey