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EPA Proposes Former Drum Reconditioning Facility in Camden, New Jersey To The Superfund National Priorities List

Release Date: 04/22/1999
Contact Information: Berry Shore (212) 637-3650 /

(#99058) NEW YORK, N.Y. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to add the site of a former drum reconditioning facility, at 1542 South Broadway in Camden, New Jersey, to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL), the federal list of the nation's most serious hazardous sites. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and heavy metals from the soil, sewer basins and leaking, buried drums at the 2.4 acre Martin Aaron, Inc. site have been contaminating the local groundwater.

EPA periodically proposes sites to the NPL and designates proposed sites as final. Sites that are placed on the final NPL are eligible for long-term "remedial action" or cleanups financed under the Superfund Trust Fund. Proposed sites can be investigated further to determine the extent of the risks they may pose to human health and the environment. "The proposed listing of the Martin Aaron site means that EPA can begin a comprehensive evaluation of the contamination there and develop long-term, permanent solutions to maintain the quality of the community's drinking water source," according to EPA Regional Administrator Jeanne M. Fox. "Our first priority is to provide protection against immediate risks, while we conduct investigations and studies into ways to provide protection against long-term hazards. The proposed listing will ensure that Superfund money will be available to pay for this work."

The following is a detailed description of the site:

The Martin Aaron, Inc. site is in a mixed industrial and residential section of Camden. Martin Aaron, Inc. purchased the property in 1969 and operated a drum reconditioning facility until 1985. At that time, Martin Aaron, Inc. sold the business to a corporation. The Rhodes Drum Co. ceased operations there at the end of 1998. A trucking company currently uses the property for the storage and transfer of trailers. Martin Aaron, Inc. still owns the property.

Solvent-type odors were noted during New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) inspections and off-site reconnaissances in 1986 and 1988 and are believed to have originated from drum cleaning operations. Sampling conducted by the NJDEP between 1986 and 1998 identified VOCs and inorganic substances in site sewer basins and drums, including high concentrations of arsenic, cadmium, mercury, selenium, barium, chromium, and lead. The same VOCs and inorganic contaminants have also been detected in soils throughout the property. NJDEP reports that chemical wastes were illegally deposited on the site in March 1999.

The aquifer of concern in Camden is the Potomac-Raritan-Magothy aquifer system. Groundwater samples at the site show releases of VOCs to the Magothy Formation.

With the addition of this site and another in Atlantic County, there are now 111 federal Superfund NPL sites in New Jersey.

The NPL rule, which officially proposes the site listing, will be published tomorrow in the Federal Register. For members of the public interested in obtaining copies of the notice, an updated NPL list or site description, please contact the RCRA/Superfund Hotline at 1-800-424-9346 or 703-412-9810. Further information about the site and the Superfund program can also be obtained from EPA's homepage:

NOTE TO EDITORS: Reporters should contact Rich Cahill for the above information.

For more information contact:
Berry Shore, Intergovernmental Affairs Branch
EPA Region 2
290 Broadway
NY, NY 10007-1866
Voice: 212-637-3650 FAX: 212-637-3561 E-Mail: