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EPA moves forward with plan to clean up Hercules Superfund Site in Gibbstown, N.J.

09/28/2018
Contact Information: 
Tayler Covington (covington.tayler@epa.gov)
(212) 637-3662

(New York, N.Y. – September 28, 2018) Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it has selected a final plan for cleanup of the Hercules, Inc. Superfund site in Gibbstown, N.J. Previous chemical manufacturing operations at the site contaminated the soil, sediment, and groundwater with volatile organic compounds. EPA will use a combination of excavation and treatment to address the threats posed by decades of chemical contamination.

“To date, more than two billion gallons of contaminated groundwater have been extracted and treated. More work is needed to protect the community of Gibbstown, and the cleanup plan announced today moves us in that direction,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez.

The cleanup will include excavation and on-site treatment of the top four feet of contaminated soil using naturally occurring microorganisms to destroy or break down the contaminants. It also includes in-place treatment of soil located deeper than four feet using chemicals to spur naturally occurring microorganisms to destroy or break down the contaminants and excavation with off-site disposal of the lead-contaminated soil. Removal and treatment of contaminated sediment in Clonmell Creek and an on-site storm water basin will take place and extraction and treatment of contaminated groundwater will continue. Treated soil and sediment will be reused on site as a soil cover to reduce infiltration of surface water and control surface water runoff.

EPA held a public meeting in August 2018 to explain its cleanup proposal, discuss the other cleanup options that were considered, and to solicit public comments. To read the EPA’s selected cleanup plan, outlined in a Record of Decision, and to view EPA’s responses to public comments in the Responsiveness Summary, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/superfund/hercules-gibbstown.

Background

The Hercules, Inc. facility, also known as the Gibbstown plant, is located on approximately 350 acres in Gloucester County. The site encompasses an 80-acre former process area and a 4-acre area known as the solid waste disposal area. A hydroperoxide / dicumyl peroxide manufacturing facility formerly operated in the plant process area. Waste materials from manufacturing processes, including waste resulting from the production of aniline, were disposed of in two unlined disposal pits. Operations at the plant ceased, and the structures associated with manufacturing were demolished in 2010. Under the direction of the State of New Jersey, the party responsible for the site conducted cleanup activities that included consolidation of tar pits and contaminated soil under a cap to reduce exposure, restrictions on the access and use of groundwater, and long-term monitoring of the site. A groundwater extraction and treatment system was installed in the plant process area as an interim cleanup to protect local municipal drinking water wells until a final cleanup plan could be selected.

The Superfund program has been providing important health benefits to communities across the country for more than 35 years. Superfund cleanups also strengthen local economies. Data collected through 2017 shows that at 487 Superfund sites in reuse, approximately 6,600 businesses are generating $43.6 billion in sales and employ 156,000 people who earned a combined income of $11.2 billion.

Under the Trump Administration, the Superfund program has reemerged as a priority to fulfill and strengthen EPA’s core mission of protecting human health and the environment.

On the one-year anniversary of the EPA’s Superfund Task Force Report, EPA announced significant progress in carrying out the report’s recommendations. These achievements will provide certainty to communities, state partners, and developers that the nation’s most hazardous sites will be cleaned up as quickly and safely as possible.

EPA’s “Superfund Task Force Recommendations 2018 Update” is available at: https://www.epa.gov/superfund/superfund-task-force-recommendations-2018-update.

Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter at http://twitter.com/eparegion2 and visit our Facebook page, http://facebook.com/eparegion2.

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Superfund Task Force. In May 2017 EPA established a task force to restore the Superfund program to its rightful place at the center of the Agency's core mission to protect health and the environment. epa.gov/superfund/superfund-task-force.