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EPA Cleans Up the U.S. Radium Site in Essex County

Release Date: 08/16/2006
Contact Information: Pat Carr, (212) 637-3652 or carr.patricia@epa.gov

(New York, NY) After removing approximately 135,000 tons of contaminated soil and debris, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing that no further action is necessary to clean up the U.S. Radium Superfund Site in Essex County, New Jersey. EPA conducted ground water sampling at the site and found no evidence of wide-spread ground water contamination.

“This is excellent news for the residents in the area,” said Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg. “After more than 10 years working at the U.S. Radium site, EPA can assure residents that the contamination has been effectively addressed.”

EPA will hold a public meeting to hear comments on Tuesday, August 22, at 7:00 PM at the Orange City Hall Council Chambers, 29 North Day Street. Public comment will be accepted until September 8, 2006.

The former U.S. Radium Corporation facility, which covers two acres in the city of Orange, is a former radium-processing plant where extraction, production, application, and distribution took place from about 1915 through 1926. Approximately ton of ore per day was processed and disposed of on and off the property. In addition, radium-contaminated soil and debris were identified at approximately 250 properties near the former plant and locations throughout Orange, West Orange, and South Orange. Residences, light industries, offices, grocery stores, and apartment buildings occupy these areas. All area residents and businesses are supplied with municipal water.

In 1997, EPA began removing radium-contaminated soil and building materials from approximately 250 properties, restored the affected areas, and disposed of approximately 135,000 tons of radium-contaminated material off-site. These cleanups are now essentially complete.

Previous ground water sampling indicated the presence of dissolved radionuclides in the ground water under the former U.S. Radium facility, but the results were not conclusive. Since these earlier investigations, the majority of the contaminated material has been removed from the site, and the recently completed ground water investigation confirmed that this removal has effectively prevented a ground water contamination problem.

For more information on the US Radium site: epa.gov/region02/superfund/npl/0200772c.htm

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