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EPA Finalizes Plan to Address Contaminated Soil at Maywood Chemical Company Superfund Site in NJ
Release Date: 09/24/2014
Contact Information: Elias Rodriguez, (212) 637-3664, firstname.lastname@example.org
- (New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has finalized its plan to address chemically-contaminated soil at the Maywood Chemical Company Superfund site in Maywood, Lodi and Rochelle Park, New Jersey. Previous industrial activity at the site resulted in contamination of the soil and groundwater with volatile organic compounds, radioactive waste and heavy metals. Exposure to these pollutants can have serious health effects, and in some cases, increase the risk of cancer. The EPA is requiring a combination of removing and treating contaminated soil.
“By getting at the source, this cleanup will address the contaminated soil and reduce the risk posed by the toxic contamination to people’s health and the environment,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck.
The EPA held a public meeting on September 9, 2013 in Maywood to explain the plan. The EPA received public comments for 103 days and considered public input before finalizing the plan.
Operations at the former Maywood Chemical Works began in 1895 and from 1916 to 1955 included thorium processing, which produced radioactive waste. Other manufacturing activities generated various types of chemical and radiological wastes. These waste materials were used as fill on the former Maywood Chemical Works property and at nearby properties. The site is being addressed jointly by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Stepan Company, which currently owns and operates a manufacturing facility at the site. The EPA is overseeing the work.
Because of the nature and complexity of the contamination at the site, the cleanup work was divided into several phases. Under previous cleanup plans, the Army Corps of Engineers is addressing radioactive contamination on more than 88 parcels and radioactive and chemical contamination on an 11-acre government-owned parcel at the site. To date, more than 575,000 cubic yards of radioactively-contaminated material has been removed from the site. Over 60 residential properties, 20 commercial properties, three parks and a local fire station have been cleaned up. Radiological soil cleanup work is ongoing at several commercial properties.
Stepan Company has been identified as potentially responsible for non-radiological chemical contamination in both soil and groundwater on the former Maywood Chemical Works properties. The EPA will require seek to have the company do the work laid out in EPA’s cleanup plan to address soil that is considered a risk to people either through direct contact or a source of groundwater contamination at the site.
Under the EPA’s direction, contaminated soil will be dug up and disposed of at facilities authorized to receive the waste. Buried containers will be removed. Excavated areas will then be filled with clean soil and restored. In one of the contaminated areas, the EPA is requiring the removal of harmful chemicals from the soil by extracting them in vapor form with a vacuum and then filtering the vapors through carbon filters to remove contaminants. The EPA will first oversee a study to confirm that this treatment is effective. Two small areas of wetlands with a total area of one and a half acres will be drained to remove the contaminated soil. The water will be pumped from the sediment and treated before being discharged. The wetland areas will be restored with vegetation and soil having properties similar to the existing wetlands.
In some areas where contamination remains in place, the EPA will prohibit activities that could disturb the site and allow potential exposure to the contamination in the future. The EPA is requiring periodic review and evaluation of the work to verify that the actions taken continue to protect people’s health and the environment.
The Superfund program operates on the principle that polluters should pay for the cleanups, rather than passing the costs to taxpayers. In this instance, the site is partially being addressed by the federal government under a program to clean up radioactive contamination at specific sites across the country, called Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program. A portion of the site, which is the subject of this EPA record of decision, is being addressed by the Stepan Company.
The record of decision detailing this remedy at the site is available at the
Maywood Chemical Company Superfund site, please visit:
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