Thursday, April 7, 2016

Former pesticide plant site in NJ added to Superfund list

Atlantic City Press graphic
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced yesterday that it has added the former Kil-Tone Company site in Vineland, N.J. to its Superfund list of the country’s most hazardous waste sites. Pesticides were manufactured at the now defunct facility, and groundwater and soil at the site, including soil in the yards of nearby homes, is contaminated with arsenic and lead.

The Sierra Club's New Jersey chapter responded to the news by blaming New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection for knowing about the site for 30 years but doing noting to address it.

“We are glad to see the EPA step in, but we hope the Kil-Tone site doesn’t end up like the Shieldalloy facility," said NJ Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel. We need to a complete clean-up, not a cap like what the EPA is doing in Millville.

"Instead of cleaning up the site the Shieldalloy Superfund Site in Newfield, they are capping it, leaving tons of toxic material in the ground that will leach into the environment. Eventually the caps will fail, allowing these dangerous materials to pollute the groundwater and harm the community,” Tittel claimed.

In a news release on Kil-Tone, the EPA said:

Pesticides were manufactured at the now defunct Kil-Tone Company facility, and groundwater and soil at the site, including soil in the yards of nearby homes, is contaminated with arsenic and lead.
“The EPA is committed to protecting residents from the high levels of arsenic and lead at this site,” said Judith A. Enck, EPA Regional Administrator. “The EPA has contacted community members and residents throughout the process to address the pollution. Now we can do the additional sampling needed to determine the best way to clean it up.

”Arsenic is known to cause cancer, as well as many other serious health problems. Lead is a toxic metal that can cause damage to a child’s ability to learn as well as a range of adverse health effects in adults.
Even at low levels, lead can cause learning disabilities and behavioral problems in children.

The Kil-Tone Company manufactured pesticides, which included arsenic and lead, from approximately 1917 to 1926 on the property at 527 East Chestnut Avenue in Vineland, N.J. In 1926, the Kil-Tone Company sold the property to Lucas Kil-Tone Co., a New Jersey company, which is believed to have continued manufacturing pesticides at the property until at least 1933. The property is currently occupied by an unrelated and active business.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection investigated the site in August 2014 and took soil and groundwater samples. The state’s discovery of high concentrations of arsenic and lead in the soil at the property and several neighboring residential properties prompted the referral of the site to the EPA for additional investigation in November 2014.

The EPA confirmed that soil at both the former Kil-Tone property and in the yards of nearby homes had unacceptable levels of arsenic and lead. In April 2015, the EPA collected surface water and sediment samples along the Tarkiln Branch to the confluence with the Maurice River. Sampling results show elevated levels of arsenic and lead related to the Former Kil-Tone Company Site.

In June 2015, the EPA sampled soil at 48 additional residential properties located near the site. An additional 31 residential homes located within the flood plain of the Tarkiln Branch were sampled in November 2015. The results show elevated levels of arsenic and lead at residential properties located within the floodplain of the Tarkiln.

The EPA has shared the sampling results with the affected residents and businesses and held a public meeting in July 2015. The EPA advised residents in April 2015 on immediate actions they should take to reduce potential exposure to the contaminated soil in their backyards.

This month EPA began work to reduce, in the short term, the potential exposure from the elevated levels of arsenic and lead at the residential properties by placing sod, stone, mulch or another barrier at the impacted areas. A final cleanup will be determined and carried out in the future.

The Superfund final designation makes sites eligible for funds to conduct long-term cleanups. The EPA received a letter from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection supporting the inclusion of this site to the Superfund list.

Related news stories:

EPA adds Vineland Kil-Tone site to Superfund list

Kil-Tone site added to Superfund list 
Vineland residents warned against Kil-tone contamination 


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