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News Releases from Region 02

EPA Secures $5.6 Million Worth of Cleanup for Shieldalloy Superfund Site in Newfield and Vineland, N.J.

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

(New York, N.Y. – Nov. 16, 2016) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a $5.6 million legal agreement with Shieldalloy Metallurgical Corporation to perform a cleanup of the contaminated soil, sediment, surface water and a modified cleanup measure for the groundwater at the Shieldalloy Metallurgical Corp. Superfund site in Newfield and Vineland, N.J.  Exposure to contaminants at the site, such as hexavalent chromium and volatile organic compounds, can have serious health impacts, including nervous system damage and cancer. The EPA will oversee the cleanup work. Shieldalloy Metallurgical Corporation will also pay for the EPA’s oversight costs.

“Unfortunately this property is contaminated with toxic chemicals that can damage people’s health and the environment. This agreement is an important step in getting this site cleaned up. It is an example of how Superfund is designed to work – those responsible for the contamination pay for the work, not the taxpayers,” said Judith A. Enck, EPA Regional Administrator.

The EPA is requiring a combination of cleanup measures at portions of the site including capping of the soil, excavating and removing contaminated sediment and prohibiting future residential use of the facility. To address groundwater, the EPA cleanup plan also requires the use of non-hazardous additives to treat the groundwater and break down the contaminants, which will allow the contaminants to naturally decline. Groundwater will be monitored throughout this process.

To address contaminated soil, the EPA is requiring that a one to two-foot cap be placed over the soil in a 1.3-acre area of the facility to reduce potential exposure to soil contaminated with vanadium. The EPA is restricting future construction on the site to commercial use. The EPA’s plan requires the company to sample a local stream, the Hudson Branch and remove 9,800 cubic yards of sediment that is contaminated with heavy metals from the stream bottom. Additional sampling of the contamination in the Hudson Branch will be conducted. The EPA’s plan requires that the Hudson Branch be restored after the excavation and that the water be monitored until water quality standards are met. The EPA will conduct a review every five years to ensure the effectiveness of the cleanup.

Groundwater at the site is contaminated with hexavalent chromium and volatile organic compounds from ore and metal processing that took place at the site from 1955 to 2006. The groundwater at this site doesn't present a direct threat because wells in the area are not used for drinking water since residents have been connected to a clean municipal water source.

The groundwater portion of the cleanup plan at the site builds on a New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection 1996 cleanup plan, which included a system of pumps to bring the polluted groundwater to the surface where it could be treated. After years of successful operation of the pump and treat system, concentrations of contaminants began to level off rather than continue to decrease at an acceptable rate. In an effort to help the groundwater concentrations continue to decrease at an acceptable rate, the EPA oversaw a study, conducted from 2010 to 2014, using additives to reduce contamination levels. Data collected indicate that contaminants would be effectively reduced through a combination of natural processes and adding non-hazardous additives to the groundwater. Therefore, the EPA concluded that the pump and treat system is no longer necessary.

The EPA’s cleanup addresses portions of the Shieldalloy site that are distinct from radioactive contamination and perchlorate contamination at the site. The slag piles and radioactive waste generated by the facility at the site are not part of the federal Superfund cleanup plan and were being addressed by New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. However, in accordance with a federal court ruling in 2014, SMC is now being regulated by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Environmental Radiation. A draft decommissioning plan was submitted by Shieldalloy Metallurgical Corporation in 2015.

The site is also contaminated with perchlorate. Perchlorate was used to produce rocket fuel, fireworks, flares and explosives. Under a legal agreement between EPA and Shieldalloy perchlorate contamination will be addressed in a separate phase of the cleanup. A study of the nature and extent of the perchlorate is ongoing.

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 and it holds those parties accountable for the costs of cleanups. The cleanup of the Shieldalloy site is being conducted and paid for by the owner of the site, Shieldalloy Metallurgical Corporation, with oversight by the EPA.

The EPA held public meetings in Newfield, N.J. on July 9, 2014 and August 12, 2015 and received comment before finalizing the groundwater cleanup plan and the soil, sediment and surface water cleanup plan.

The public is encouraged to submit written comments on this proposed settlement within 30 days of  publication of a notice in the Federal Register. Once it is published, a copy of the Federal Register notice with instructions about how to comment can be found at https://www.justice.gov/enrd/consent-decrees. The settlement requires approval by the United States District Court before becoming final.

To view the EPA's web site for the Shieldalloy Metallurgical Corp. site, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/region02/superfund/npl/shieldalloy

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