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EPA Releases Plan for Next Phase of Cleanup at Radiation Technology Site in Rockaway, New Jersey

Release Date: 04/13/2011
Contact Information: Elias Rodriguez, 212-637-3664, rodriguez.elias@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a plan for the next phase of cleanup work at the Radiation Technology, Inc. Superfund site in Rockaway Township, New Jersey. The 263-acre site was used for testing and developing rocket motors and developing propellants. Ground water at the site is contaminated with volatile organic compounds, a group of chemicals that can have serious health effects. EPA is proposing to dig up and remove pieces of deteriorated drums that are buried in a waste disposal area at the site to prevent them from further contaminating the surrounding soil with heavy metals.

EPA is requesting public comments on the proposed plan and will hold a public meeting to explain the plan and receive comments on April 21, at 7:00 p.m. at the Rockaway Township Municipal Building at 65 Mount Hope Road, Rockaway, New Jersey. Comments will be accepted from April 13 to May 13.

"The improper storage and disposal of drums at this industrial facility has resulted in contamination that has damaged the environment and poses a potential threat to drinking water quality," said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. "The cleanup plan proposed today advances EPA’s work at the site and we welcome public input on the contamination problem in Rockaway.”

EPA's cleanup of the Radiation Technology site is being conducted in phases to facilitate the long-term restoration of the area. The work is being done by the responsible party, Alliant Techsystems (the successor to Thiokol, the former owner and operator of the site), with EPA oversight. During the first phase of the cleanup, the company installed wells to measure and monitor ground water contamination. Nearby residential drinking water wells were also sampled to ensure that drinking water was not affected. To date, the sampling has shown that the drinking water is not contaminated and monitoring of the residential wells continues.

The second phase of the cleanup, announced today, recommends the removal of the deteriorated drum material, followed by off-site disposal or treatment. Alliant Techsystems investigated areas of the site that could be a source of the ground water contamination and found that the drum material in a portion of the site was contaminating the soil and the underlying ground water, and needed to be removed.

Once the deteriorated drums are removed, soil in the immediate area will be sampled to determine if the soil is contaminated and needs to be excavated and disposed of or treated off-site. In addition, any debris that is mixed in with the contaminated drum material will be removed, disposed of or treated off-site. Areas disturbed by excavation activities will be restored. This work will take about one month to complete.

The third and final phase of the cleanup will address buildings and other structures on the property. Initial investigation work to determine what cleanup work will be needed has begun.

EPA will address public comments on the second phase of the work and expects to select and finalize a cleanup plan this summer.

Written comments may be mailed to:

Mr. Brian Quinn
Remedial Project Manager
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Region 2
290 Broadway – 19th Floor
New York, N.Y. 10007-1866
212-637-4381
quinn.brian@epa.gov

The EPA has a web page on the Radiation Technology, Inc. Superfund at: http://www.epa.gov/region2/superfund/npl/radiationtech/index.html

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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