Monday, June 3, 2013

EPA finalizes lead cleanup plan for Raritan Bay NJ site

                                             Posted notice of health risks at Raritan Bay Superfund site  - photo 
EPA regional administrator Judith Enck announced today that the USEPA has finalized a plan to clean up lead contamination at the Raritan Bay Slag 
Superfund site in Old Bridge and Sayreville, NJ.

The remediation
will be conducted in three sectors that contain lead slag, a byproduct of metal smelting. The lead slag was used to construct a seawall in the 1960s and a jetty
along the southern shore of the Raritan Bay
 in Old Bridge and Sayreville.

The first sector includes the Laurence Harbor seawall adjacent to the Old Bridge Waterfront Park in the Laurence Harbor section of Old Bridge Township.The second sector consists of the western jetty in Sayreville and extends from the Cheesequake Creek Inlet into Raritan Bay.
The third sector is approximately 50 acres of Margaret’s Creek and has elevated lead levels along with areas of slag 
and battery casings.

The estimated cost of the cleanup plan is $79 million.

The EPA explained in a news release that:

For both the Laurence Harbor seawall and the western jetty sectors, contaminated soil, sediment and waste including slag and battery casings will be dug up or dredged, and the material will be disposed of at facilities licensed to handle hazardous waste. Excavated areas will be restored with clean material.
 Within the Margaret’s Creek sector, the EPA will remove slag and battery casings, along with areas of contaminated soil associated with these materials. Clean material will be placed as needed in the excavated areas. Throughout the cleanup, monitoring and testing will be conducted to ensure that public health and the environment are protected. 
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NJ/NY Baykeeper, which had served on an EPA advisory committee for the site, supported the federal decision.  In a news release, the environmental organization said:

"EPA's recommended plan best protects the health of local residents and the many people who fish, boat and recreate along this stretch of Raritan Bay.  It also protects the rich diversity of waterfowl, songbirds, fish and other wildlife in the area from ingesting these toxins and moving them up the food chain.  It removes and properly disposes of lead and other contaminants that otherwise NL Industries, which is responsible for this contamination, has pushed hard for a quick, cheap plan to pile and cover contaminants on-site along the Margaret's Creek floodplain. Such a plan threatens the environment with re-contamination and the property values of local residents who would end up living adjacent to a toxic dumpsite."
“Lead can cause serious health problems, especially in young children, which makes it so important to clean up this area where children regularly play,” Enck said. “The cleanup plan announced today is a major step that brings us closer to a restoration that will make it possible for everyone to enjoy the beach safely. No one should have to worry about being exposed to toxic substances when they visit a public beach.” 

More information on EPA's Raritan Bay Slag Superfund Site can be found here

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