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EPA Proposes To Remove Montclair/West Orange and Glen Ridge Radium Superfund Sites From Its Superfund List

Release Date: 04/29/2009
Contact Information: Mary Mears (212) 637-3673, mears.mary@epa.gov; Elias Rodriguez (212) 637-3664, rodriguez.elias@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y.) All cleanup work has been successfully completed at the Montclair/West Orange and Glen Ridge Radium Superfund sites and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to remove the sites from its Superfund National Priorities List (NPL). EPA has consulted on its decision with the state of New Jersey and is taking public comment on its proposal.

“Getting these sites cleaned up was a herculean effort because it involved so many homes, and proposing to delete the site from our list certainly marks another successful chapter in the Superfund program,” said George Pavlou, Acting Regional Administrator. “We were able to get rid of the risk posed by the radium-contaminated dirt while working very closely with the communities to minimize the disruption that such a large operation inevitably can cause.”

The Montclair/West Orange and Glen Ridge Radium sites are listed as two sites on the Superfund NPL. The two sites include three non-contiguous areas located in five residential communities of suburban Essex County in northeastern New Jersey, about 12 miles west of New York City. The sites cover a total area of approximately 250 acres and include 900 residential and 24 municipal properties. Although listed separately on the NPL, the two sites have been addressed jointly due to their geographic proximity and similar characteristics.

The soil at the sites was contaminated with radioactive waste materials suspected to have originated from a nearby radium-processing facility that operated in the early 1900s. When houses were later constructed in the area, some of the radium-contaminated soil was used as fill in the low-lying areas, and some was mixed with cement for sidewalks and foundations. More than 220,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil were scattered on public and private properties in the densely populated residential communities.

The state began some work at the site in the 1980s and EPA installed a number of radon systems and lead shielding to alleviate the immediate threats posed to some residences by the radium. EPA carried out the cleanup in phases, addressing the most severely contaminated properties first. This soil cleanup effort took approximately 14 years to complete from 1990 to 2004. In all, EPA excavated contaminated soils from a total of 355 properties at a cost of nearly $220 million. Contaminated soil was transported by rail to licensed disposal facilities. Once the contamination was removed, EPA restored the properties to their pre-excavation conditions.

For more information about the Montclair/Glen Ridge Radium Superfund sites, visit http://www.epa.gov/region02/superfund/npl/0200997c.htm. The public comment period on the proposed deletion will begin on April 28, 2009 and extend for 30 days. Written comments must be postmarked no later than May 28, 2009 and should be addressed to:

Betsy Donovan, Remedial Project Manager
Donovan.betsy@epa.gov
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 2
290 Broadway, 19th Floor
New York, NY 10007-1866
212-637-4369

More specific details concerning these sites are available at the following repositories:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 2
Superfund Records Center
290 Broadway, 18th Floor
New York, NY 10007-1866
Phone 212-637-4308

The Township of West Orange Health Department
66 Main Street, Room 203
West Orange, New Jersey 07052
Phone 973-325-4120
Hours: Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Montclair Public Library Reference Department
50 South Fullerton Avenue,
Montclair, New Jersey 07042
Phone 973-744-0500
Hours: Monday to Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Friday & Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; and Sunday 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Glen Ridge Public Library Reference Department
240 Ridgewood Avenue
Glen Ridge, New Jersey 07028
Phone 973-748-5482
Hours: Monday 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; Tuesday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Wednesday 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; and Thursday, Friday, Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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