EPA Superfund cleanup plan for Linden panned

LINDEN — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a plan to address contaminated soil and ground water at LCP Chemicals, Inc., located in an industrial area on the Tremley Point peninsula next to the Arthur Kill but New Jersey Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel said the federal agency’s proposal falls short.

“Even though this is in Linden it is actually an environmental sensitive area surrounded by high quality wetlands, marshlands and river shallows,” said Tittel.  “This site was closed in 1985 and has been left far too long without being remediated.”

The EPA plan calls for demolishing the contaminated buildings on the 26-acre Superfund site, treating some of the contaminated soil to remove contaminants, capping all of the soil and treating the contaminated ground water.

The soil, ground water and sediment from a stream on the site were contaminated with mercury and other pollutants from previous industrial activities. 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 EPA held a public meeting on Aug. 28, to explain the proposed plan and is accepting public comments until Sept. 30.

The land, originally a coastal marshland, was filled in and developed for industrial use. LCP Chemicals purchased the chlorine production facility in 1972 and operated the facility from 1972 through 1985, when it stopped operations.

Sampling of soil, sediment, surface water and ground water revealed elevated levels of mercury, and other contaminants. The site was added to the Superfund list in 1998.

The EPA wants to cap the contaminated soil to prevent direct contact with it and to reduce the potential for people to breathe mercury vapor. The cap will have a layer of sulfur beneath a geosynthetic membrane that will convert the mercury into mercury sulfide, a form that doesn’t turn into vapor or dissolve.

The membrane will also prevent the mercury from turning into vapor and stop rainwater from getting into the underlying ground water.

Buildings on site will be demolished. Porous building material that has visible signs of contamination will be vacuumed and treated with sulfur. 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.

In the nearby 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. 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 site. Future on-site construction will be restricted to commercial use.

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. In this case, the successor to the prior owner of the site, ISP Environmental Services, Inc. has conducted the investigation and study for this site. The EPA will continue to work to have those responsible for the site conduct the cleanup work.

Written comments may be mailed or emailed to:

Mr. Jon Gorin
Remedial Project Manager
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Region 2
290 Broadway – 19Th Floor
New York, N.Y. 10007-1866

The EPA has a web page on the site at: http://www.epa.gov/region02/superfund/npl/lcpchemicals.


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