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Cleanup Completed at Federal Creosote Superfund Site

Release Date: 03/07/2008
Contact Information: Beth Totman (212) 637-3662, totman.elizabeth@epa.gov

(New York, NY) After removing more than 450,000 tons of contaminated soil and cleaning up nearly 100 residential and commercial properties, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that its work is done at the Federal Creosote Superfund site in Manville, New Jersey. The neighborhood is now successfully restored and the risks stemming from creosote in the soil have been eliminated. EPA Regional Administrator, Alan J. Steinberg was joined by Congressman Mike Ferguson, as well as U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Brigadier General Todd Semonite and Colonel Aniello Tortora at a ceremony today marking the occasion.

“We had a major challenge at this site because the residential area was built on contaminated soil that, in some spots, actually oozed creosote sludge,” said EPA Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg. “With the cooperation of the Borough of Manville, we were able to figure out the best way to tackle the contamination and are extremely proud that we have met our cleanup objectives in record breaking time.”

The Federal Creosoting Company began using the property in 1919 to treat railroad ties and poles with creosote wood preservative. During its operation, the site included several buildings used in the creosoting process and multiple above-ground tanks that contained creosote. Creosote was discharged through two canals into two unlined creosote waste lagoons. In the center of the site, lumber treated with creosote would be left to drip onto surface soil.

When operations at the site ceased in 1956, the 50-acre property was purchased by developers. In the early 1960s, 137 single family homes comprising the Claremont Development were built on 35 acres of the site. The remaining 15 acres were developed into the Rustic Mall. The redeveloped property was built on top of the contaminated soil and the waste lagoons and on at least one occasion, creosote sludge seeped into a residential basement sump and was pumped out into a storm sewer.

The Federal Creosote Superfund site was listed on the National Priorities List (NPL), which is the list of the nation’s most hazardous waste sites, in January 1999. After extensive investigations into the scope of the contamination at the site, EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which was brought in for its engineering expertise, approached the cleanup in three different stages. In the first phase, which began in spring 2001, EPA addressed the buried lagoons and canals that still contained creosote and byproducts. Eighteen residential properties were acquired by EPA and demolished in order to better reach the source material, which was then excavated, treated and disposed of off-site. The major source of ground water contamination was removed during this excavation. In the second phase, EPA excavated contaminated soil from all residential properties in the Claremont Development containing high amounts of creosote. Lastly, the Rustic Mall was demolished by the mall owners and contaminated soil was removed by EPA.

For further information on the Federal Creosote Superfund site, please visit: http://epa.gov/region02/superfund/npl/federalcreosote/. Video is available on this site showing how the creosote sludge was cleaned up:http://www.epa.gov/region02/mediacenter/video/fc_cleanup.wmv. Additionally, to hear comments from Region 2’s Administrator about the Federal Creosote Superfund site, go to: http://www.epa.gov/region02/mediacenter/audio/alan_fc_soundbyte1.mp3 and http://www.epa.gov/region02/mediacenter/audio/alan_fc_soundbyte2.mp3.

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