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EPA Encourages the Public to Comment on Plan for Cleanup at Scientific Chemical Superfund Site in Carlstadt, New Jersey

Release Date: 08/02/2012
Contact Information: Contact: John Martin, (212) 637-3662, martin.johnj@epa.gov

      (New York, N.Y. – August 2, 2012) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a plan to clean up contaminated ground water at the Scientific Chemical Processing Superfund site in Carlstadt, New Jersey. Past industrial activities contaminated the ground water with volatile organic compounds, which can have serious health effects, including liver damage and an increased risk of cancer. The proposed plan calls for the ground water to be treated to break down the contaminants to protect people’s health and the environment.

      The EPA will hold a public meeting on August 9, 2012 to explain the proposed plan and is encouraging public comments. The meeting will be held at 7:00 p.m. at the Carlstadt Borough Hall, 500 Madison Street, Carlstadt, New Jersey. Comments will be accepted until September 4, 2012.

      From the 1940s to 1980, what is now referred to as the Scientific Chemical Processing site was used to process solvents for further use or disposal. In 1970, the Scientific Chemical Processing Company leased the site and used the property for processing industrial waste from 1971 until the company was shut down.

      The Scientific Chemical Processing site was listed on the EPA’s Superfund list of the nation’s most hazardous waste sites in 1983. Between 1983 and 1985, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection required the company to remove approximately 250,000 gallons of wastes stored in tanks which had been abandoned at the site. The EPA took the lead in overseeing the cleanup in 1985.

      Because of the nature and complexity of the contamination at the site, the cleanup has been conducted in three phases. The first phase began in 1990, when the EPA implemented a plan to contain contaminated ground water and soil on the Scientific Chemical Processing property proper while a longer term plan could be developed. An underground wall was constructed to prevent contaminated ground water from moving off-site. A cap was installed to prevent exposure to contaminated soil on the site and to keep water from seeping into the ground water. In addition, a system was built to collect the ground water so it could be shipped off-site and treated.

      In August 2002, based on the results of monitoring conducted after the first phase of work, the EPA began implementing a long term plan for the ground water and soil on the property. Under this plan, the EPA removed an area of highly contaminated soil and upgraded the ground water extraction. Ground water is still being shipped off-site for treatment. This work was completed in October 2011.

      During the third phase, currently proposed by the EPA, substances designed to break the contaminants down to less toxic forms would be injected into the ground water in affected areas outside of the site. Samples of the ground water would be collected and analyzed regularly to ensure the technology is effective, and remains protective of human health and the environment. Monitoring will continue until ground water cleanup levels have been met.

      The Superfund program operates on the principle that polluters should pay for the cleanups, rather than passing the costs to taxpayers. After sites are placed on the Superfund list of the most contaminated waste sites, the EPA searches for parties responsible for the contamination and holds them accountable for the costs of investigations and cleanups. The cleanup of the Scientific Chemical Processing site is being conducted and paid for by a group of over 100 companies with oversight by the EPA.

      Written comments may be mailed or emailed to:

      Stephanie Vaughn, Remedial Project Manager
      U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Region 2
      290 Broadway – 19th Floor
      New York, N.Y. 10007-1866
      (212) 637-4410
      vaughn.stephanie@epa.gov

      For more information on the Scientific Chemical Processing Superfund site, go to: http://www.epa.gov/region2/superfund/npl/scientificchemical/

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