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Scrap Metal Recycling Operation in Thorofare Proposed for Superfund Cleanup

Release Date: 04/18/2006
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(New York, NY) An area contaminated by crushed battery casings and a landfill at the Matteo & Sons, Inc. scrap metal recycling operation is a newly proposed site to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) of the most contaminated waste sites. Tests at the site showed significantly elevated levels of lead and PCBs in the surface soils and well above background in sediments. Lead is also a concern in surface water and ground water at the site.

“This is another example in which mistakes of the past resulted in hazardous conditions that need to be cleaned up today,” said Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg. “By placing this site under the guidelines of the Superfund program, we can ensure that the work will be completed under strict EPA oversight.”

The Matteo & Sons, Inc. site is located mostly on a property consisting of an active scrap metal recycling facility, a junkyard, and an inactive landfill. Woodbury Creek borders it to the west, Hessian Run to the north, an a residential trailer park to the south. The Matteo family acquired the property in 1947 and has operated an unregistered landfill, a junkyard and a metals recycling facility at the site since at least 1961. From 1971 until 1985, Matteo recovered lead from battery terminals using a metal separation process called sweating. In conjunction with the lead melting operation, Matteo dumped crushed battery casings in an area of wetlands adjacent to Hessian Run; there were several reports of battery casing incineration and subsequent on-site ash disposal. Drums of unknown waste material were also abandoned on the site. In January 1984, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) issued an Administrative Consent Order to Matteo for solid waste violations and required the company to cease waste disposal at the site. The scrap metal recycling facility remains active.

Sources of contamination on the site include an approximately 224,000-square-foot pile of crushed battery casings, an approximately 260,000-square-foot inactive landfill in the north central portion of the site, and lead and PCB-contaminated soil located throughout the property. The company deposited crushed battery casings directly into the Hessian Run and the wetlands alongside it, altering the shoreline.

Lead and PCBs are present in soils on the site and in sediment samples collected from Hussein Run and Woodbury Creek. The contamination also affects approximately 0.16 mile of wetland frontage in Hessian Run and a bald eagle foraging habitat within Hussein Run and Woodbury Creek.

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