News Releases from Region 02
EPA Proposes Plan to Address Contaminated Building and Soil at the Unimatic Superfund Site in Fairfield, N.J.
Public Meeting, Aug. 10, 7:00 p.m. in the Fairfield Municipal Building
(New York, N.Y. – July 22, 2016) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed demolishing a building and removing contaminated soil from the Unimatic Manufacturing Corporation Superfund site at 25 Sherwood Lane in Fairfield, N.J. Before ending its operations at the site in 2001, Unimatic used the site to run a metals molding facility and operated machines using lubricating oil that contained polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The company’s operations caused the soil, groundwater and building on the property to be contaminated with PCBs. The EPA encourages the public to comment on the cleanup plan and will meet with the community about its proposed plan.
“EPA’s cleanup details how we will address the PCBs at this site to protect the health of people who live in Fairfield,” said Judith A. Enck, EPA Regional Administrator. “PCBs were widely used in industrial and commercial applications until they were banned in 1979. They persist in the environment and can damage the human immune, reproductive, nervous and endocrine systems and are potentially cancer-causing.”
The EPA will take public comments and will also hold a public meeting on August 10, 2016 to explain the proposed plan. The meeting will be held at 7:00 p.m. in the Fairfield Municipal Building, 230 Fairfield Road, Fairfield, N.J. Comments will be accepted until August 22, 2016.
Unimatic operated a metals molding facility at the site from 1955 until 2001. The company allegedly discharged wastewater containing PCBs through floor trenches into leaky wastewater discharge pipes. The leaky pipes allowed the PCB-wastewater to seep into the ground at the site, contaminating soil and groundwater throughout the property and leading to soil contamination on the adjacent properties. Operations inside the building also contaminated the interior of the building.
In 2001 Unimatic stopped operations at the site. Since 2002, the facility has been used by Frameware, Inc., a metal frame parts manufacturer and distributor. In 2012, Frameware, Inc. moved its operations and relocated its workers. The nearest public drinking water wells are located less than one-half mile from the site and are regularly tested to ensure that they meet all federal and state drinking water standards.
Under the EPA proposed cleanup plan, the building located at 25 Sherwood Lane will be demolished. The structure needs to be taken down so that contaminated sections of the building and contaminated soil underneath can be removed. The EPA will work with local officials to determine the best time to do the demolition and notify the public before demolition begins. Strict procedures will be followed to control dust during the demolition.
The EPA plan also would require removing and disposing of contaminated soil from portions of the site and backfilling those areas with clean soil. The soil would be dug up and properly disposed of at facilities licensed to handle the waste. In total, approximately 26,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil will be removed from the site. During the cleanup, the EPA will monitor the air to protect the public from any hazardous particles in the air resulting from the demolition, and will sample the soil to ensure the effectiveness of the cleanup. The cleanup is estimated to cost $18 million. In the next phase of the cleanup, the EPA will address the groundwater contamination.
The EPA periodically proposes sites to the Superfund list and, after responding to public comments, designates them as final Superfund sites. The Superfund program operates on the principle that polluters should pay for the cleanups, rather than passing the costs to taxpayers. The EPA has determined that the Unimatic Manufacturing Corporation is potentially responsible for the contamination at this site.
Written comments may be mailed or emailed to:
Trevor Anderson, Remedial Project Manager
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
290 Broadway, 19th Floor
New York, N.Y. 10007
To view the proposed cleanup plan, visit: www.epa.gov/superfund/unimatic