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News Releases from Region 02

EPA Finalizes Plan to Remove Contamination at Superfund site in Gibbsboro, N.J.

10/03/2017
Contact Information: 
David Kluesner (kluesner.dave@epa.gov)
212-637-3653

(New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has finalized its plan to remove lead and arsenic contaminated soil and sediment at the United States Avenue Burn Superfund site in Gibbsboro, N.J. The site is near a former paint manufacturing plant and was used as a paint waste dump. Lead and arsenic are toxic and can potentially damage people’s health.

“EPA is moving forward to protect this community by removing sources of lead and arsenic contamination that pose a threat in the long term,” said Catherine McCabe, Acting EPA Regional Administrator. “There is no higher priority for EPA than protecting the health of people who live and work in impacted communities.”

Reports indicate that paint wastes and solvents were dumped or poured onto the ground at the United States Avenue site and they were often burned. These activities contaminated soil, sediment, groundwater and surface water with hazardous chemicals. Work has already been conducted to address the immediate risks posed by the site, including some excavation and disposal of contaminated soil from a portion of the site and the installation of fencing. The restricted and fenced portion of the United States Avenue Burn site is 13 acres in size. The site also includes portions of White Sand Branch, Honey Run Brook, and the railroad track area near Bridgewood Lake.

For this phase of cleanup, contaminated soil will be removed and properly disposed of at approved facilities that are licensed to handle the waste. In total, approximately 60,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil will be removed.  The excavated areas will be backfilled with clean soil, replanted with vegetation, if appropriate, and restored. Contaminated soil beneath United States Avenue Road will remain undisturbed.  The asphalt paving and roadbed will act as a cap, preventing exposure. The EPA will oversee the work.

The record of decision also requires excavation of contaminated sediment from White Sand Branch and Honey Run Brook, and a system to temporarily divert the stream will be constructed to access the sediment. In total, approximately 825 cubic yards of contaminated sediment will be removed. Water will be removed from the sediment and treated water will be discharged to White Sand Branch and Honey Run Brook. The EPA will monitor surface water to ensure that New Jersey water quality standards are met in White Sand Branch and Honey Run Brook. Processed sediment will be taken to a facility licensed to receive the waste. The streams will be restored after the excavation.

The EPA will coordinate with all impacted property owners and area residents to ensure that the work is done with minimal disruption. The EPA will monitor the air near work areas throughout the process to ensure the safety of workers and the surrounding community.

The EPA is requiring that deed notices be placed on properties to govern how the land may be managed in the future in order to limit people’s exposure to contaminated soil. The EPA will conduct a review every five years to ensure the effectiveness of the cleanup.

The EPA held a public meeting in Gibbsboro on August 10, 2017 to explain its cleanup. The EPA accepted public comments for 60 days and considered public input before finalizing the plan.

To read the EPA’s final decision, outlined in a record of decision, please visit:

www.epa.gov/superfund/us-avenue-burn

The Superfund program operates on the principle that polluters should pay for the cleanups, rather than passing the costs to taxpayers. The EPA searches for parties legally responsible for the contamination at sites that are placed on the Superfund list and it seeks to hold those parties accountable for the costs of investigations and cleanups. It is anticipated that the cleanup of at the United States Avenue Burn Superfund site will be conducted and paid for by the parties legally responsible for the site with oversight by the EPA. The EPA estimates the cost of this cleanup will be about $19 million.

The Superfund program is a cornerstone of the work that the EPA performs for citizens and communities across the country. On July 25, 2017 Administrator Pruitt accepted recommendations from the task force established on May 22, 2017 to revitalize the Superfund program.  “My goal as Administrator is to restore the Superfund program to its rightful place at the center of the agency’s core mission.”

The task force’s recommendations focused on five overarching goals: expediting cleanup and remediation, reinvigorating cleanup and reuse efforts by potentially responsible parties, encouraging private investment to facilitate cleanup and reuse, promoting redevelopment and community revitalization and engaging with partners and stakeholders. Work to prioritize and reinvigorate the program by the task force has been initiated and will be ongoing into the future. The Superfund Task Force Recommendations can be viewed at https://www.epa.gov/superfund/superfund-task-force-recommendations.

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