Contact Us

Newsroom

News Releases - Hazardous Waste

 

EPA Proposes to Add the Riverside Industrial Park in Newark, NJ to the Superfund List; EPA Encourages the Public to Comment

Release Date: 09/14/2012
Contact Information: Elias Rodriguez, 212-637-3664, rodriguez.elias@epa.gov

      (New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today proposed to add the Riverside Industrial Park on the banks of the Passaic River in Newark, NJ to its Superfund list of the country’s most hazardous waste sites. After a 2009 spill of oil from the industrial park into the Passaic, the EPA became aware that chemicals, including benzene, mercury, chromium and arsenic, were improperly stored at the site. The agency took emergency actions to stop these chemicals from getting into the river. Soil, ground water and tanks at the Riverside Industrial Park are contaminated with volatile organic compounds and PCBs.

      Benzene, mercury, chromium and arsenic are all highly toxic and can cause serious damage to people’s health and the environment. Many volatile organic compounds are known to cause cancer in animals and can cause cancer in people. PCBs are chemicals that persist in the environment and can affect the immune, reproductive, nervous and endocrine systems and are potentially cancer-causing.

      “We have kept people out of immediate danger from this contaminated industrial park and can now develop long-term solutions to protect the community,” said Judith A. Enck, EPA Regional Administrator. “By adding the site to the Superfund list, the EPA can do the extensive sampling needed to determine the best ways to clean up the contamination.”

      Since the early 1900s, the Riverside Industrial Park, at 29 Riverside Avenue in Newark, has been used by many businesses, including a paint manufacturer, a packaging company and a chemical warehouse. The site covers approximately seven acres and contains a variety of industrial buildings, some of which are vacant. In 2009, at the request of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the EPA responded to an oil spill on the Passaic River that was eventually traced to the Riverside Ave site. The state and the city of Newark requested the EPA’s help in assessing the contamination at the site and performing emergency actions to identify and stop the source of the spill.

      The EPA plugged discharge pipes from several buildings and two tanks that were identified as the source of the contamination. In its initial assessment of the site, the EPA also found ten abandoned 12,000 to 15,000 gallon underground storage tanks containing hazardous waste, approximately one hundred 3,000 to 10,000 gallon aboveground storage tanks, two tanks containing oily waste, as well as dozens of 55-gallon drums and smaller containers. These containers held a variety of hazardous industrial waste and solvents. Two underground tanks and most of the other containers have been removed by the EPA.

      The EPA has determined that proposing this site to the Superfund list is the best course of action to protect human health and clean up the contamination. The EPA periodically proposes sites to the Superfund list and, after responding to public comments, designates them as final Superfund sites. The Superfund final designation makes them eligible for funds to conduct long-term cleanups. The EPA received a letter from the New Jersey government supporting the inclusion of this site to the Superfund list.

      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. The search for the parties responsible for the contamination at the Riverside Industrial Park site is ongoing.

      The EPA today added 12 sites to the national Superfund list. Since 1983, 1,676 sites have been listed. Of these sites, 360 sites have been cleaned up, resulting in 1,316 sites currently on the list, including the 12 added today. There are 54 sites proposed to be added, including eight announced today, awaiting final agency action.

      To see the Federal Register notice and supporting documents for this site, as well as other proposed and final sites, on the day of publication, visit: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/current.htm.

      With the proposal of this site to the Superfund List, a 60-day comment period will begin during which the EPA solicits public input regarding this action. For instructions to submit comments, go to: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/pubcom.htm.

      Comments can be submitted, identified by Docket number s EPA-HQ-SFUND-2012-0603 of the following methods:

      http://www.regulations.gov: Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.

      Email: superfund.docket@epa.gov

      Mail: Mail comments (no facsimiles or tapes) to Docket Coordinator, Headquarters; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; CERCLA Docket Office; (Mail Code 5305T); 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW; Washington, DC 20460

      Hand Delivery or Express Mail: Send comments (no facsimiles or tapes) to Docket Coordinator, Headquarters; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; CERCLA Docket Office; 1301 Constitution Avenue, NW; EPA West, Room 3334, Washington, DC 20004. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Docket’s normal hours of operation (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding Federal holidays).

      For more information on the Superfund listing process, visit: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/npl_hrs.htm or contact Ildefonso Acosta, Region 2 NPL Coordinator, at 212-637-4344, acosta.ildefonso@epa.gov.