EPA Confirms No Further Cleanup Needed at the Universal Oil Products Superfund Site in East Rutherford, New Jersey
NEW YORK – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized its decision that no further cleanup action is needed to address groundwater that discharges to nearby surface water at the Universal Oil Products Superfund site in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Sampling data indicates that contaminant levels will not pose a risk to the surrounding community. In addition, to further ensure long-term protection, EPA is amending the original cleanup action, requiring notices to be filed with property records and incorporating monitoring and other measures to ensure the integrity of the work done at the site.
“The major sources of contamination have been removed, and EPA also treated the groundwater," said Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia. "We will remain at the job by continuing to monitor this site in the long term to ensure it poses no serious risk to people living and working nearby."
This final decision comes after extensive work has already been done under a 1993 cleanup plan selected by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection in close consultation with EPA. Under that plan, contaminated soil was dug up and treated, groundwater was extracted and treated, the area was capped, and long-term monitoring was required. The addition finalized by EPA today requires that property owners planning new construction on the land portion of the site evaluate conditions to ensure pollutants in indoor air will not exceed levels protective of human health for building occupants. In addition, property owners may be required to install certain engineering controls, such as a vapor barrier or a sub-slab-depressurization system, which uses a fan-powered vent to draw air from beneath the foundation slab, redirecting potentially harmful vapor from entering the building.
The Universal Oil Products Superfund site is a 75-acre area located in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Site operations starting in the 1930s included chemical manufacturing and solvent recovery, later expanding in the mid-1950s to include a wastewater treatment plant and storage lagoons. Seepage from the wastewater lagoons and the routine handling of products and wastes resulted in the release of hazardous substances to the upland soil, groundwater, tidal marshes, and waterways.
EPA placed the site on the Superfund National Priorities List in 1983 and divided the site into two distinct areas called operable units (OUs). Today's final decision is for the first operable unit, which addresses the upland soil and shallow groundwater. EPA selected a cleanup plan for an interim remedy for OU2 in 2019, which addresses a former lagoon area, low-lying marshes, and the waterway channels of Ackermans Creek and its tributaries. The design for that cleanup is currently underway.
On July 22, 2022, EPA released its proposed plan to the public and held a virtual public meeting on July 27, 2022, to explain the plan and take comments. The Record of Decision released today addresses the comments received and formalizes EPA’s selected cleanup plan.
Visit the Universal Oil Products Superfund site profile page for additional background and to view the Record of Decision.