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Cleanup Completed at a Portion of Ciba Geigy Site

Release Date: 12/14/2004
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(#04181) NEW YORK, N.Y. -- In less than a year - and fully six months ahead of schedule - 47,055 drums were removed from a disposal area located on the Ciba-Geigy Chemical Corporation Superfund site in Toms River, New Jersey. The cleanup was performed by Ciba Specialty Chemical Corporation (Ciba), with oversight from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

"This marks a major milestone in the ongoing cleanup of this site," said Acting EPA Regional Administrator Kathleen C. Callahan. "By removing these drums, we have also removed a source of the contamination and have taken a big step toward completing the cleanup."

The Ciba-Geigy Chemical Corporation Superfund site encompasses approximately 1,400 acres of developed and undeveloped land, including wetlands. From 1952 to 1990, Ciba manufactured dyes, pigments, resins and epoxy additives on the property. The company buried sludge and chemical process wastes in drums, or disposed of them in lagoons and other areas. Contamination from some of these areas is leaching into the ground water. Both ground water and soil at the site are contaminated, primarily with volatile organic compounds. The site was listed on the National Priorities List of the nation's most hazardous waste sites in 1983, and EPA subsequently began studies of the nature and extent of the contamination.

To eliminate potential threats to people's health, all affected residential irrigation wells were closed in 1991. Under EPA's oversight, Ciba installed a treatment system to address contaminated ground water. The full-scale operation of this system began in March 1996. The plant treats approximately two million gallons of water per day. Treated water is reinjected into the ground at the site.

In September 2000, EPA selected a cleanup for the site which includes an on-site process to treat approximately 150,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil. The treatment process uses bacteria that already exist in the soil to break down and ingest the contaminants. The soil treatment began in July 2004 and is expected to continue for about five years.

EPA's cleanup plan also included removing drums from a disposal area used from 1972 through 1977. That cleanup, the subject of today's announcement, is now completed. Any drums of waste material encountered during the remaining cleanup work at the site will be disposed of in the same manner as those found in the drum disposal area.

For additional information about the Ciba-Geigy Chemical Corporation Superfund site, please visit the following Web sites: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/nj.htm, or http://www.cibageigysite.org.