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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Contaminated Soil and Debris to Be Removed From Superfund Site in South Plainfield, New Jersey

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a plan to address contaminated soil and debris at the Woodbrook Road Dump Superfund site in South Plainfield, New Jersey. Previous dumping of old electrical capacitors at the site has contaminated some of the soil with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). PCBs are chemicals that persist in the environment and can affect the immune, reproductive, nervous and endocrine systems. Under the plan proposed today, contaminated soil and debris will be dug up and removed.

“This was a poorly run dump in the vicinity of the Dismal Swamp – a natural wildlife refuge and an important wetland,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “Some material that caused contamination, including electrical capacitors, has already been removed and now we will get rid of the contaminated soil. I encourage the public to give the EPA their input on this proposed cleanup plan.”

The EPA will hold a public meeting on August 26, 2013 to explain the proposed plan and is encouraging public comments. The meeting will be held at 7:00 p.m. at the South Plainfield Municipal Building courtroom at 2480 Plainfield Avenue in South Plainfield, NJ. Comments will be accepted until September 16, 2013.

The Woodbrook Road Dump Superfund site is located on land that was used as a dump in the 1940s and 1950s for both industrial waste and household waste until it was shut down by the state of New Jersey in 1958. Among the materials disposed of at the site were old electrical capacitors, which contained PCBs and had contaminated the soil. Under EPA oversight, the current owner of the property, Texas Eastern Transmission Corporation (TETCO), removed a number of PCB-contaminated capacitors, secured the site and placed warning signs around the area. The EPA added the Woodbrook Road Dump site to the Superfund list in 2003.

Under the EPA’s cleanup plan, as much as 120, 000 cubic yards of contaminated soil and debris will be dug up and disposed of at a facility licensed to receive the waste. All PCB-contaminated soil and debris above 1 part per million from both the Eastern and Western dump areas will be disposed of off-site. Wetland areas that are disturbed during the work will be restored. Ground water at the site is not contaminated with site-related chemicals. The EPA will conduct a review every five years to ensure the effectiveness of the cleanup.

The Superfund program operates on the principle that polluters should pay for the cleanups, rather than passing the costs to taxpayers. After sites are placed on the Superfund list of the most contaminated waste sites, the EPA searches for parties responsible for the contamination and holds them accountable for the costs of investigations and cleanups.

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