Wednesday, February 26, 2014

EPA finalizes cleanup plan for Superfund site in NJ

The federal Environmental Protection Agency said today that it has finalized a plan to clean up contaminated soil and groundwater at the LCP Chemicals Superfund site in Linden (Union County), N.J.

"The soil, ground water and sediment from a stream on the site were contaminated with mercury and other pollutants from previous industrial activities," the EPA said in a news release.

"The final cleanup plan requires demolishing the contaminated buildings on the site, treating some of the contaminated soil, capping all of the soil and treating the contaminated ground water." the EPA said

The agency said that exposure to mercury "can damage people’s nervous systems and harm the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs and immune systems. Mercury in soil and sediment can also impact fish and other wildlife."

The 26-acre site is located in an industrial area on the Tremley Point peninsula next to the Arthur Kill in Linden. Originally a coastal marshland, the land was filled in and developed for industrial use.

LCP Chemicals purchased a chlorine production facility on the site in 1972 and operated there from 1972 through 1985, when it stopped operations. Sampling of soil, sediment, surface water and the underlying ground water revealed elevated levels of mercury and other contaminants.

The site was added to the Superfund list in 1998.

According to the EPA, the final cleanup plan requires capping of the contaminated soil to prevent direct contact with it and reduce the potential for people to breathe mercury vapors that could get into the air from the soil.

“The cap will have a layer of sulfur beneath a geosynthetic membrane that will convert the mercury into mercury sulfide, a form of mercury that does not turn into vapor or dissolve, “ the EPA said. “The membrane will further prevent the mercury from releasing vapors and help to keep rainwater from getting into the underlying ground water.”

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The EPA said that buildings on site will be demolished. Porous building material that has visible signs of contamination will be treated with sulfur. Demolition debris will be separated and, if suitable, recycled. The debris that cannot be recycled will be processed to reduce its size and then placed under the cap with other contaminated materials.

Under the plan, the stream, the most highly contaminated sediment will be dug up and moved upstream where it will be capped. The excavated area and a nearby ditch will be restored with clean sediment and the wetlands will be reconstructed.

Contaminated ground water from the site will be extracted and treated, the agency said.

"A barrier will also be put in place to further limit the potential for contaminated ground water to spread. The ground water will be monitored and deed restrictions will be put in place to restrict its use and other activities that could disturb the cleanup. Future on-site construction will be restricted to commercial use."

Click here to view the EPA’s record of decision for the LCP Chemicals site.

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