Contact Us

Newsroom

News Releases - Superfund and Brownfields

 

EPA Adds Unimatic Manufacturing Corporation site in Fairfield, NJ to the Federal Superfund List; PCBs Contaminated Site

Release Date: 05/08/2014
Contact Information: Elias Rodriguez, (212) 637-3664, rodriguez.elias@epa.gov

      (New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has added the Unimatic Manufacturing Corporation site in Fairfield, New Jersey to its Superfund list of hazardous waste sites. Unimatic formerly used the site to run a metals molding facility and operated machines using lubricating oil that contained polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The company’s operations caused the soil, ground water and a building on the property to be contaminated with PCBs. The nearest public drinking water wells are located less than one-half mile from the site. The water supply is monitored regularly to ensure the water quality meets drinking water standards and is safe to consume. The water meets federal and state drinking water standards.

      PCBs were widely used in hundreds of industrial and commercial applications until they were banned in 1979. They persist in the environment and can affect the immune, reproductive, nervous and endocrine systems and are potentially cancer-causing.


      “The inclusion of the Unimatic site on the Superfund list will allow the EPA to move forward with the work needed to protect the health of people who live in Fairfield,” said Judith A. Enck, EPA Regional Administrator. “The EPA can now begin the studies needed to develop a comprehensive cleanup plan that addresses the legacy of PCB contamination.”

      Unimatic operated a metals works and metals molding facility at the site from 1955 until 2001. The company allegedly disposed of PCB-laden lubricant through floor trenches that led to facility wastewater pipes. The pipes, which discharged into a tributary of Deepavaal Brook, allowed the wastewater to leak into the ground at the site, contaminating soil and ground water throughout the property. Operations inside the building lead to contamination of the interior building structure.

      The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has issued numerous violation notices to Unimatic, which have resulted in the company removing some contaminated soil. High PCB concentrations, however, remain in soil and ground water as well as inside the building. The property was sold in 2002 after Unimatic ceased operations at the site.


      Since 2002, the facility has been used by Frameware, Inc., a metal frame parts manufacturer and distributor. In May 2012, at the request of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the EPA took samples inside and outside the building on the site. Based on the results of EPA’s sampling, the New Jersey Department of Health, in consultation with the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, recommended that employees of the facility be relocated. Frameware, Inc. moved its operations and removed approximately 20 workers from the contaminated work environment.

      The EPA periodically proposes sites to the Superfund list and, after responding to public comments, designates them as final Superfund sites. The Superfund program operates on the principle that polluters should pay for the cleanups, rather than passing the costs to taxpayers. The EPA searches for parties legally responsible for the contamination at sites that are placed on the Superfund list and it seeks to hold those parties accountable for the costs of investigations and cleanups. The EPA is in the process of identifying those responsible for the cleanup of the Unimatic site.


      Today’s addition of this site brings the total of proposed and final sites on the federal Superfund list in New Jersey to 117.

      To learn more about the Unimatic site, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/region02/superfund/npl/unimatic.

      14-044