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Entries in soil contamination (2)

Friday
May232014

Ten Companies Agree to Final Phase of Toxic Cleanup of New Jersey Industrial Waste Site

Ten companies have reached an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the final phase of a $1.4 million cleanup of the Evor Phillips Leasing Co. Superfund site in Old Bridge Township, NJ. The New Jersey District Court approved the proposal earlier this month.

Evor Phillips Leasing Co. Superfund site in Old Bridge Township, NJ. Photo courtesy of dredgingtoday.com.

The site is an unoccupied six-acre plot of land located about one mile west of Route 9 and about 1.5 miles northeast of Route 18. The groundwater beneath the six-acre site is contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from past industrial activities. The soil is also contaminated with VOCs and metals.

The EPA warns that direct contact with the soil, or accidentally ingesting of contaminated soil or groundwater could create serious health issues, including cancer.

The extent and nature of the potential health effects depends on factors including the level and length of exposure to the pollution, said the agency.

Municipal well data has confirmed the presence of site-related contaminants in the groundwater with leaching occurring into the underlying aquifer, which is a source of drinking water.

Among the most at risk are the Sayreville municipal wellfield located about 1,000 feet southwest of the site, and the Perth Amboy wellfield located about 3,000 feet southwest of the site. “All nearby residents have discontinued use of private wells and are now served by a municipal water supply,” said the EPA.

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Thursday
Oct242013

EPA Has Finalized Plan For Cleaning Up Toxic Contamination Within New York’s Gowanus Canal

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has just finalized a plan to clean up the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, N.Y., which is considered one of the most polluted bodies of water in the country.

Gowanus Canal, Brooklyn, N.Y. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Completed in 1869, the canal has been one of the nation’s busiest commercial waterways, serving industries including: gas works (manufactured gas plants), coal yards, cement makers, soap makers, tanneries, paint and ink factories, machine shops, chemical plants, and oil refineries.

In recent decades, the canal has been used as a repository for untreated industrial wastes, raw sewage, and runoff.

Today, the EPA says that although much of the industrial activity along the canal has ceased, high levels of contamination remain in its groundwater and sediment. Contamination stills flows into the canal from overflows of sewer systems that carry sanitary waste from homes, as well as from rainwater coming from storm drains and industrial pollutants.

The EPA’s remedial investigation of the site found that it has been polluted with high levels of over a dozen contaminants, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and heavy metals, including mercury, lead, and cooper.

PAHs and heavy metals were also found in the canal water. PAHs are a group of chemicals that are formed during the incomplete burning of coal, oil, gas, wood, garbage, or other organic substances.

PCBs were used as coolants and lubricants in transformers, capacitors, and other electrical equipment, and their manufacture was banned in 1979.

The EPA says that, “PCBs and PAHs are suspected of being cancer-causing, and PCBs can have neurological effects as well,” also expressing concern that, “To this day, people can still be found fishing in the Gowanus despite advisories about eating fish from the canal.”

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