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EPA Selects Cleanup Plan for Additional Properties with Low Levels of Creosote at Federal Superfund Site in Manville Borough

Release Date: 10/03/2000
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(#00179) NEW YORK, N.Y. – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has selected a plan for a second phase of cleanup work to address creosote contamination in the Claremont Development residential community in Manville Borough, New Jersey. This community was built over a former railroad tie creosoting facility, currently known as the Federal Creosote Superfund site, where soil and groundwater were contaminated with creosote. EPA will excavate an estimated 78,900 cubic yards of soil containing residual amounts of creosote from approximately eighty properties, and transport it to an off-site facility for treatment and disposal. The estimated cost of this cleanup plan is $28.5 million, 90% of which will be financed through EPA’s Superfund Trust Fund and 10% through the State of New Jersey.

"Demolition of eight homes will begin during October as part of the first phase of the cleanup and, with this plan now approved for the second phase of the cleanup, we are keeping to our accelerated schedule to address the contamination in the Claremont community," EPA Regional Administrator Jeanne M. Fox said. "Any time we are dealing with a site that involves contamination on residential properties, we make that site a priority at EPA," Ms. Fox said.

EPA’s overall cleanup of the site will be completed in phases. In September 1999, EPA selected a remedy to clean up the creosote buried in lagoons and canals under the development. That cleanup plan includes the purchase of 17 properties in the lagoon and canal areas of the Claremont Development, excavation of creosote product beneath these properties, transportation of the creosote material off-site for treatment and disposal, and backfilling these properties with clean fill. The development of the detailed plan for the lagoon and canal cleanup and relocation of residents are continuing. To expedite the process for beginning work on all affected properties and reduce disruption of the community, EPA, while working to complete the relocations and a design for the first phase of cleanups, also produced a feasibility study to analyze the cleanup options available for the approximately eighty properties that have residual amounts of creosote in soils. This analysis was the basis for the proposed plan that the Agency is announcing today as final.

EPA also has already taken an emergency interim action at the site, which involved covering any exposed material, to eliminate any potential short-term health risks to residents through direct contact

The FEDERAL CREOSOTE site in Manville Borough is a 137-property residential community. In late 1997, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection requested EPA assistance in determining if the presence of creosote in the soils of the development posed a significant risk to public health and the environment. EPA sampling in the spring of 1998 at numerous residential properties within the Claremont Development showed elevated levels of creosote, as well as other compounds, at elevated levels in the surface soils on 19 residential properties. EPA determined that no immediate health risk exists to the community. However, for those 19 properties that contained creosote at elevated levels in surface soil, EPA applied topsoil, mulch, seed and sod in order to limit any potential exposure. EPA added the site to the National Priorities List on January 19, 1999.

While starting the cleanup work in the Claremont Development, EPA is still investigating the extent of the contamination in the Rustic Mall, where the former creosoting plant once stood, and the groundwater. A cleanup plan for the Rustic Mall and the groundwater is scheduled for next year.