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EPA Finalizes Plan to Address Contamination at Superfund Site in Woolwich Township, N.J.

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David Kluesner (

(New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has finalized its decision to install specially-designed underground walls to treat contaminated groundwater and excavate contaminated soil and sediment at the Matlack, Inc. Superfund site in Woolwich, N.J. As a result of past truck maintenance and tanker washing operations at the site, the soil, sediment, surface water and groundwater are contaminated with volatile organic compounds, which can potentially harm people’s health.

“Our cleanup will significantly reduce the risk that people will be exposed to contamination from the site,” said Catherine McCabe, Acting Regional Administrator. “EPA’s Superfund work is central to our mission to protect people’s health and at Woolwich we are applying a proven, effective technology to address contamination in the groundwater.”

Located on Route 322 in Woolwich Township, the site was used as a truck terminal from 1962 to 2001. Previous activities at the 70-acre facility included the cleanup of trucks and tankers used for transporting a variety of materials, including various solvents and petroleum products.

Contamination from this site is impacting the Grand Sprute Run stream and nearby wetlands that have been identified among New Jersey’s most significant natural areas.

The investigation and cleanup of the site has been conducted in stages by EPA, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and by parties associated with the property. Prior to EPA’s involvement at the site, the state led efforts that included treating groundwater and removing nine storage tanks used for waste, petroleum and about 255 tons of diesel-contaminated soil.

EPA will install underground walls designed to remove volatile organic compounds from the groundwater. As groundwater flows through the walls, they trap harmful contaminants and also make them less harmful. The treated groundwater flows out the other side of the walls. EPA will monitor the

groundwater beyond the wall to ensure the success of the technology. In addition, the EPA will remove an area of contaminated sediment along Grand Sprute Run and will remove contaminated soil within a former lagoon area. The excavated sediment and soil will be disposed of at off-site facilities licensed to handle the waste. By cleaning up the groundwater and removing ongoing sources of contamination in the soil and sediment, the remedy also addresses contamination in surface water.

Throughout the cleanup, monitoring, testing and further studies will be conducted to ensure the effectiveness of the cleanup technology. Groundwater will be sampled and the results used to verify that cleanup goals are met. The EPA will conduct a review within five years to ensure the cleanup remains protective of people’s health and the environment. The EPA estimates the cost of this cleanup will be about $4 million.

The EPA held a public meeting in Woolwich on September 14, 2017 to explain its proposed remedy. The EPA accepted public comments for 30 days and considered public input before finalizing the plan

To read the EPA’s final cleanup plan, please visit:

The Superfund program is a cornerstone of the work that the EPA performs for citizens and communities across the country. On July 25, 2017 Administrator Pruitt accepted recommendations from the task force established on May 22, 2017 to revitalize the Superfund program. “My goal as Administrator is to restore the Superfund program to its rightful place at the center of the agency’s core mission.”

The task force’s recommendations focused on five overarching goals: expediting cleanup and remediation, reinvigorating cleanup and reuse efforts by potentially responsible parties, encouraging private investment to facilitate cleanup and reuse, promoting redevelopment and community revitalization and engaging with partners and stakeholders. Work to prioritize and reinvigorate the program by the task force has been initiated and will be ongoing into the future.

The Superfund Task Force Recommendations can be viewed at