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News Releases from Region 02

EPA Finalizes $14 Million Cleanup Plan to address Lead and Arsenic at Route 561 Dump site in Gibbsboro, N.J.

Contact Information: 
Elias Rodriguez (rodriguez.elias@epa.gov)

(New York, N.Y. – Sept. 26, 2016) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has finalized its $14 million plan to clean up contaminated soil and sediment at the Route 561 Dump site in Gibbsboro, N.J. The site is an area near a former paint manufacturing plant and was used as a paint waste dump. The Route 561 Dump site includes businesses, a vacant lot, a small creek called White Sand Branch and wetlands. The soil and sediment at the Route 561 Dump site are contaminated with lead and arsenic.

Lead is a neurotoxin and increasing amounts build up in the body. Even at low levels, lead in children can lower I.Q.s, cause learning disabilities, damage hearing, reduce attention spans, cause hyperactivity and other behavior problems. Arsenic is toxic and can also damage people’s health and can cause cancer.

“Lead is a toxic metal that can impact a child’s ability to learn and cause a range of other serious health problems,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck. “EPA’s final plan is an important step forward in our comprehensive strategy to cleanup this complex site and protect people’s health and the environment.”

The final Route 561 Dump site soil cleanup plan builds on the previous work conducted at the site. This plan will be followed by future cleanup plans to address other areas of the site, including groundwater. Under the plan, the EPA will remove contaminated soil from portions of the site and backfill the excavated area with clean soil. The contaminated soil will be taken off site and properly disposed of at facilities licensed to handle the waste. In total, approximately 23,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil will be removed. A cap, consisting of soil cover in vegetated areas or asphalt on portions of commercial properties, will be installed in parts of the site. The EPA will coordinate with the property owners or occupants to ensure that the work is done with minimal disruption. The EPA will monitor the air near the work areas.

EPA is requiring that restrictions be placed on how the land may be used in order to limit people’s exposure to the contaminated soil. The EPA will conduct a review every five years to ensure the effectiveness of the cleanup.

The Route 561 Dump site, and the Sherwin-Williams/Hilliard’s Creek site, and the United States Avenue Burn Superfund site are sources of contaminated soil and sediment, which has spread onto a number of residential properties within Gibbsboro and Voorhees.  Under previous orders by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the EPA, Sherwin-Williams has removed 8,096 cubic yards of sludge from a former lagoon area, removed 44,785 gallons of liquid waste, installed a soil vapor extraction treatment system to reduce the volatile organic compounds in the soil near two former plant buildings, installed fencing to limit access to some source areas and taken other steps to address the pollution. A soil cleanup on residential properties is underway.

The Superfund program operates on the principle that polluters should pay for the cleanups, rather than passing the costs to taxpayers. The EPA searches for parties legally responsible for the contamination at sites that are placed on the Superfund list and it seeks to hold those parties accountable for the costs of investigations and cleanups. EPA expects that the cleanup of the Route 561 Dump site will be conducted and paid for by Sherwin-Williams. The cost of this cleanup is approximately $14 million.

The EPA held a public meeting in Gibbsboro on June 21, 2016 to explain the proposed plan. The EPA accepted public comments for 60 days and considered public input before finalizing the plan.

To view the final cleanup plan, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/superfund/route-561-dump

For a direct link to the cleanup plan, please visit: https://semspub.epa.gov/src/document/02/393183

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