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EPA Removes Morris County Site From Superfund National Priorities; Cleanup Work Complete

Release Date: 08/02/2010
Contact Information: (News Media Only): Elizabeth Miller 212-637-3665 (office) or 347-432-2709 (cell), miller.elizabethd@epa.gov

(New York, NY) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has successfully completed cleanup work at the Asbestos Dump Superfund site in Long Hill Township and Harding Township, Morris County, New Jersey and has deleted the site from the National Priorities List of hazardous waste sites, commonly known as the Superfund list.

After assessing monitoring data, EPA has determined that the primary contaminant of concern – asbestos – has been successfully contained, and no longer poses a significant threat to public health or the environment.

“Thanks to EPA’s efforts, the risk from the asbestos at this site has been addressed and now the site can come off the Superfund list,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck. “Our assessment found that the cleanup was successful, clearing the way for the deletion of this property from the list of the country’s most hazardous waste sites.”

The Asbestos Dump site consists of four separate properties, comprising three distinct areas in which cleanup work has been conducted – the Millington unit (11 acres), the New Vernon and White Bridge Road unit (42 acres combined), and the Dietzman Tract (a 7 acre parcel of the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge). The Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, once under threat of becoming an airport in the 1950’s, covers approximately 7,700 acres of swamp, wooded, and wetland areas. This Registered National Natural Landmark is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for wildlife habitat and observation, and receives approximately 185,000 visitors per year.

Between 1927 and 1975, under the operation of several different manufacturing companies, waste products containing asbestos were disposed of throughout the site, resulting in soil contamination. The nearby Passaic River was also threatened by runoff of contaminated surface water from the site. Currently, site properties are owned by the State of New Jersey, USFWS, and private parties. National Gypsum Company is the responsible party for the site.

The site was placed on the National Priorities List in 1983. EPA selected cleanup approaches for the three areas of the site in 1988, 1991, and 1998, respectively. Cleanup actions included consolidating and solidifying contaminated material in designated areas on-site, capping those areas, installing systems to divert surface runoff, slope protection and stabilization plans, drainage improvements, erosion controls, assessments of wetlands impacts, and restrictions on future uses for particular portions of the site. EPA’s partner agencies, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJ DEP) and USFWS, are responsible for the ongoing monitoring and maintenance activities at the site. EPA will review conditions at the site every five years to ensure that the work it did continues to protect the public and the environment. In February 2002, the completion of cleanup activities at the White Bridge Road portion of the site enabled EPA to delete that property from the National Priorities List. The current deletion applies to the remaining two areas of the Asbestos Dump site – the Millington unit and the Dietzman Tract.

The public comment period on the deletion of the Asbestos Dump site from the Superfund list ran from May 11, 2010 to June 10, 2010. EPA did not receive any comments opposing the deletion of the site from the list. Any questions about the site or its history can be directed to Theresa Hwilka, Remedial Project Manager, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 2, 290 Broadway, 19th Floor, New York, New York 10007-1866.

To date, nearly 350 Superfund sites nationally have been cleaned up and deleted from the Superfund list. The initial notice of deletion for this site in the Federal Register can be found at http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/d100712.htm

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