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EPA Extends Public Comment Period on Plan for the White Chemical Corporation Superfund site in Newark, New Jersey

Release Date: 08/29/2012
Contact Information: Elias Rodriguez, 212-637-3664, rodriguez.elias@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is extending by thirty days the public comment period for the plan it has proposed for the contaminated ground water beneath the White Chemical Corporation Superfund site in Newark, New Jersey. The ground water was contaminated with volatile organic compounds by past industrial activities at the site. Volatile organic compounds can cause serious damage to people’s health and the environment. The proposed plan calls for the injection of chemicals into the ground water that will break down the contamination. The ground water will be monitored and its use will be restricted.

The EPA held a public meeting on August 2, 2012 to explain the proposed plan. At the request of a member of the public, the agency is extending the public comment period from its original date of August 21 to a new public comment deadline of September 20, 2012.

The final phase of the cleanup, which was announced July 25 addresses the contaminated ground water. After extensive study, the EPA has concluded that it is not technically feasible to pump out and treat the contaminated ground water because of the complex rock formations underlying the site. The depth, nature and variety of the rock formations would present extreme technical challenges.

Instead, the proposed plan calls for bioremediation, the injection of chemicals into the ground water to promote the breakdown of the pollutants. The specific process to be used to inject the chemical additive will be determined by the EPA as part of the design of the cleanup. Once the process has begun, the EPA will collect samples to confirm that the bioremediation is effective. The EPA is proposing to install additional monitoring wells to monitor the ground water and to put into place restrictions that will prevent its use as a source of drinking water in the future. The EPA is requiring periodic collection and analysis of ground water samples to verify that the level and extent of contaminants are declining and that people’s health and the environment are protected.

The former White Chemical Corporation site, which covers 4.4 acres, is located at 660 Frelinghuysen Avenue in Newark, and is surrounded by many residential, commercial and industrial properties. Beginning in the 1930s, portions of the site were used by multiple businesses for industrial activities including the manufacture of acid chlorides and fire retardants. The White Chemical Corporation operated a chemical manufacturing facility at the site from 1983 to 1990 and was cited by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection for multiple environmental violations before the company abandoned the facility. Thousands of drums were left behind, with many of them leaking hazardous chemicals. The site was added to the federal Superfund list of the country’s most hazardous waste sites in 1991.

Written comments may be mailed or emailed to:
Ray Klimcsak, Remedial Project Manager
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Region 2
290 Broadway- 19th Floor
New York, N.Y. 10007-1866
(212) 637-3916
klimcsak.raymond@epa.gov

For more information on the White Chemical Superfund site, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/region02/superfund/npl/whitechem.

Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter at http://twitter.com/eparegion2 and visit our Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/eparegion2.

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