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EPA Proposes to Add the Matlack, Inc. Site in Woolwich Township, NJ to the Superfund List; EPA Encourages the Public to Comment

Release Date: 09/14/2012
Contact Information: Elias Rodriguez, 212-637-3664, rodriguez.elias@epa.gov

      (New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today proposed to add the Matlack, Inc. site in Woolwich Township, NJ to its Superfund list of the country’s most hazardous waste sites. The site is a former truck terminal at which operations included truck maintenance and truck, trailer and tanker washing. As a result of past industrial activities, the soil and ground water are contaminated with volatile organic compounds and PCBs. Many volatile organic compounds are known to cause cancer in animals and can cause cancer in people. PCBs are chemicals that persist in the environment and can affect the immune, reproductive, nervous and endocrine systems and are potentially cancer-causing. Contamination from this site is impacting the Grand Sprute Run stream as well as wetlands that have been identified as one of New Jersey’s most significant natural areas and designated a New Jersey Natural Heritage Priority Site.

      “Placing the Matlack site on the Superfund list will allow us to take all of the steps necessary to clean it up and reduce its potential impact on people’s health and the environment,” said Judith A. Enck, EPA Regional Administrator. “EPA will now begin work to sample and evaluate the site further to determine the best ways to clean up the contamination.”

      Located on Route 322 in Woolwich, the site operated as a truck terminal from 1962 to 2001. Previous activities at the approximately 70-acre facility included the cleanup of trucks and tankers used for transporting a variety of materials including resins, solvents and acids. The polluted cleaning solution was disposed of in an unlined lagoon behind the terminal building. When the company ceased operations in 2001, it pumped the lagoon, left the sludge in place, and filled it with demolition debris. Sampling has shown that the soil in several areas of the site is contaminated with volatile organic compounds and PCBs. Sediment and water in Grand Sprute Run stream are contaminated with volatile organic compounds and sampling shows that the ground water beneath the site is contaminated with the industrial cleaning chemical trichloroethylene.

      The EPA has determined that proposing this site to the Superfund list is the best course of action to protect human health and clean up the contamination. The EPA periodically proposes sites to the Superfund list and, after responding to public comments, designates them as final Superfund sites. The Superfund final designation makes them eligible for funds to conduct long-term cleanups. The EPA received a letter from the New Jersey government supporting the inclusion of this site to the Superfund list.

      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 search for the parties responsible for the contamination at the Matlack, Inc. site is ongoing.

      To see the Federal Register notice and supporting documents for this site, as well as other proposed and final Superfund sites, on the day of publication, visit: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/current.htm

      With the proposal of this site to the Superfund List, a 60-day comment period will begin during which the EPA solicits public input regarding this action. For instructions to submit comments, go to: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/pubcom.htm.

      Comments can be submitted, identified by Docket number s EPA-HQ-SFUND-2012-0602 of the following methods:

      http://www.regulations.gov: Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.

      Email: superfund.docket@epa.gov

      Mail: Mail comments (no facsimiles or tapes) to Docket Coordinator, Headquarters; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; CERCLA Docket Office; (Mail Code 5305T); 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW; Washington, DC 20460

      Hand Delivery or Express Mail: Send comments (no facsimiles or tapes) to Docket Coordinator, Headquarters; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; CERCLA Docket Office; 1301 Constitution Avenue, NW; EPA West, Room 3334, Washington, DC 20004. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Docket’s normal hours of operation (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding Federal holidays).

      For more information on the Superfund listing process, visit: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/npl_hrs.htm or contact Ildefonso Acosta, Region 2 NPL Coordinator, at 212-637-4344, acosta.ildefonso@epa.gov.