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Toms River Superfund Site Entering Second Phase of Cleanup

Release Date: 10/22/2003
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(#03128) NEW YORK, N.Y. -- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Deputy Regional Administrator William J. Muszynski announced today that the cleanup of contaminated waste and buried drums will begin at the Ciba-Geigy Chemical Corporation site in Toms River, New Jersey. Ground water cleanup has been ongoing since 1996.

"The first phase of the cleanup safeguarded the community by addressing the contaminated ground water, and now we can move forward to get rid of the source," said Muszynski. "By removing and treating the contaminated materials and soil, we stop pollutants from continuing to enter the ground water, and also accelerate the ground water cleanup."

Today's announcement marks commencement of the contaminated soil cleanup. Activities will include on-site bioremediation of approximately 150,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil, using naturally- occurring microorganisms to break down the contaminants. Additionally, almost 35,000 drums of various wastes containing organic contaminants will be disposed of off-site. Barrier walls and caps will be installed in several areas to prevent the migration of contaminants and the risks from direct contact. EPA is overseeing ongoing cleanup activities conducted by Ciba Specialty Chemicals Corporation (Ciba), the current site owners.

The site encompasses approximately 1,400 acres, including both developed and undeveloped areas and wetlands. From 1952 to 1990, Ciba manufactured dyes, pigments, resins and epoxy additives. Sludge and chemical process wastes were disposed of on-site in buried drums, 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.

To eliminate potential threats to people's health, all affected residential irrigation wells were closed in 1991. Under EPA's oversight, Ciba installed a ground water treatment system to prevent contaminated ground water from flowing into the Toms River and adjacent wetlands. 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.