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EPA Finds Cleanup of Sayreville Landfill Superfund Site Protective; Proposes Removal from Federal Superfund List

Release Date: 08/11/2011
Contact Information: Elias Rodriguez, 212-637-3664,

(New York, N.Y.) A review of conditions at the Sayreville Landfill Superfund site in the Borough of Sayreville, Middlesex County, New Jersey by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has found that the cleanup continues to protect people’s health and the environment. Based on its findings and recent monitoring data, EPA is proposing to remove the site from the federal Superfund list of the most hazardous waste sites in the nation. The site is a closed municipal landfill covering approximately 30 acres. Part of the site is in a wetland near the South River, a major tributary to the Raritan River. The soil and ground water were contaminated with volatile organic compounds, cadmium, lead, benzene, arsenic and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

Volatile organic compounds are contaminants that can easily evaporate into the air. Lead is a toxic metal that can cause damage to a child’s ability to learn and a range of health problems in adults. Even at low levels, lead in children can cause I.Q. deficiencies, reading and learning disabilities, impaired hearing, reduced attention spans, hyperactivity and other behavior problems. Excessive exposure to cadmium can cause cancer. Benzene causes cancer. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are a group of chemicals that are formed during the incomplete burning of coal, oil, gas, wood, garbage, or other organic substances and can cause cancer.

“After completing all the work needed to clean up contaminated soil and ground water and analyzing monitoring data, EPA has determined that the site no longer poses a threat to public health or the environment,” said Judith A. Enck, Regional Administrator. “EPA will continue to monitor the site to ensure that the community is protected in the future.”

From 1971 to August 1977, the Sayreville Landfill was operated by the Borough of Sayreville as a licensed municipal landfill that accepted solid waste and some industrial waste. Hazardous waste was suspected of being dumped at the site during and after the landfill stopped operating in 1977. The site was added to the federal Superfund list in 1983. Working with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, EPA oversaw the removal of over 30 drums, capping the site, and the installation of a storm water control system and methane gas collection system. Remedial construction activities were completed in 1999.

Under Superfund law, EPA conducts reviews every five years at sites where cleanups are complete to evaluate if they are protective of people’s health and the environment. Based on EPA’s first five-year review completed in 2002, the landfill cap continued to protect the public and the environment from potential risks. A second review was completed in 2007, and included an evaluation of the monitoring data obtained over the last five years. As before, the landfill cap continued to be protective. Periodic reviews will continue every five years.

The public is encouraged to comment on the proposed plan to remove this site from the Superfund list. The public comment period will begin on August 15, 2011 and extend to September 14, 2011. Submit comments, identified by Docket ID no. EPA-HQ-SFUND-1983-0002, by one of the following methods:

On the internet: Follow on-line instructions for submitting comments.
Or mail to:
Diane Salkie, Remedial Project Manager
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 2
Emergency & Remedial Response Division
290 Broadway, 19th Floor
New York, NY 10007

For more information about the Superfund program in our region