Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Chemours Chambers Works in Deepwater, New Jersey
On this page:
- Cleanup Status
- Site Description
- Contaminants at this Facility
- Site Responsibility
The Deepwater, New Jersey Chamber Works facility has been manufacturing chemical products for over a century and a quarter. Many of these operations have contaminated areas of the facility. Contamination at the Chemours Chambers Works site is being addressed by Chemours with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) oversight under a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) “Corrective Action” permit. The RCRA Corrective Action program is a cleanup program used to address contamination onsite at or caused by facilities that are operating under a RCRA permit.
Since the early 1990s, Chemours’ predecessor conducted numerous investigations under the RCRA corrective action program. In a 2014 report called the RCRA Facility Investigation Report (pdf) , 96 solid waste management units (SWMUs) and 11 areas of concern (AOCs) were identified. Some of these identified have since been closed.
In the late 1970s the company installed an interceptor well system (IWS) to keep the groundwater contamination from migrating off site. The system pumps at least one million gallons per day to create an inward flow that prevents off-site migration of groundwater. The system also includes a 4000-foot sheet pile barrier along the Salem Canal and the Delaware River to stop groundwater from traveling into those water bodies. Chemours regularly monitors the groundwater. Surface water and process water are sent to an on-site wastewater treatment plant and then pumped into the Delaware River after treatment. Chemours monitors the groundwater to ensure the system remains effective.
In the early 1990s, the company stopped using three basins and two ditches that were used as dumping areas for processed water or other wastes. Two rounds of site-wide investigations have been completed. A number of interim measures, such as removing source materials, installing a sheet pile barrier, installing caps over contaminated areas, and fences, have been completed to address immediate environmental concerns.
At the Salem Canal, Chemours is addressing an area where contaminants disperse in groundwater known as a plume that contains Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and Semi-Volatile Organic Compounds (SVOCs) migrating into and beneath the Canal. Chemours is investigating the dense nonaqueous phase liquids (DNAPLs) found in various areas of concerns (AOCs) and Solid Waste Management Units (SWMUs) in the manufacturing area. Chemours is evaluating various technologies to clean up the DNAPL and Non-aqueous Phase Liquid (NAPL).
Chemours also continues to evaluate vapor intrusion in onsite buildings and monitor indoor air. Some buildings have mitigation systems. Over 100 buildings have been demolished since 2014. Another investigation is being performed onsite to determine the extent of Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and other Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) contamination.
Chemours continues to investigate PFAS contamination offsite and is sampling private drinking water wells in the vicinity of the facility. Chemours provides a permanent source of potable water to those residents whose wells contain PFOA, PFOS, and Perfluorononanoic Acid (PFNA) above New Jersey groundwater quality standards.
Chambers Works is a 1,455-acre complex located along the eastern shore of the Delaware River by State Highway 130 (Shell Road) in Deepwater, New Jersey. East of the Chambers Works Complex are industrial, residential, and recreational areas. North of the complex are residential areas, with the Delaware River to the west.
The DuPont facility began manufacturing smokeless gunpowder at the site in 1892. During World War II, the site was used to research and develop chemicals to produce radiological materials, which contributed to the development of the atomic bomb. DuPont ended its manufacturing of explosives and dye in the early 1980s but continued chemical manufacturing. In July 2015, DuPont became a subsidiary of Chemours, who became the owner and operator of the Chambers Works facility. DuPont currently leases one building from Chemours for manufacturing.
Today, Chemours manufactures fluoroproducts used in textiles, computer chips, personal care products, agricultural chemicals, paint, rubber, lubricants, and greases at its Chambers Works facility. There are buildings onsite for offices and manufacturing, hazardous waste-management areas, a secure landfill, and a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is currently evaluating the areas of the site historically used by Chemours to develop radiological material.
Under EPA’s RCRA Corrective Action program, Chemours performs investigations and cleanups.Chemours continues its investigation to identify and characterize SWMUs and AOCs. No final site-wide cleanup plans have been selected at this time.
EPA is the lead but works in conjunction with New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), which provides oversight and technical support. An NJDEP RCRA permit allows Chemours to operate the hazardous waste container storage areas, treatment units, a containment building, and a secure landfill.
Contaminants at this Facility
The Chambers Works facility has incinerated hazardous waste, treated wastewater in a treatment plant, and disposed hazardous wastes in landfills, basins, ditches, and other storage areas. Until 2012, Chemours accepted hazardous wastewater from off-site sources, which included waste from other DuPont facilities.
Historical chemical manufacturing and waste management at the site have resulted in contamination of the site's groundwater and soil. Contaminants include Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), Semi-Volatile Organic Compounds (SVOCs), metals, Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), and radiological contaminants.
Through operations at the facility, PFAS including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), have been released into the environment and have been found in nearby private drinking water wells. The Chambers Works facility currently uses GenX, a replacement for PFOA, in their manufacturing operations. GenX has also been found in private drinking water wells.
Site Responsibility at this Facility
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) activities at this facility have been conducted under the direction of EPA Region 2.