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Eleven Companies Agree to Fund Hazardous Waste Removal at Bayonne Barrel and Drum Site in Newark

Release Date: 01/28/2004
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(#04009) New York, N.Y. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that 11 companies have agreed to continue the removal of hazardous wastes from the Bayonne Barrel & Drum site in Newark, New Jersey, and to reimburse EPA for the cost of overseeing the work to be performed.

"We are pleased these companies have agreed to cooperate to clean up this site," said EPA Regional Administrator Jane M. Kenny. "Our goal is to get the companies that caused the pollution to contribute to the solution, and while EPA has done a lot of work there already, there is more to be done. This agreement brings us one step closer to finishing the work while continuing to ensure the safety of people and the environment."

In the agreement announced today, the companies agreed to remove liquids, solids and sludge from all above- and below-ground tanks and an on-site oil/water separator, and remove the tanks and associated plumbing. They will also maintain perimeter fencing and gates used for site security, remove asbestos and demolish all buildings. Finally, the companies will assess and properly dispose of metals and PCB- contaminated ash piles and demolition debris.

In addition, the companies are currently conducting an investigation according to New Jersey's requirements, to further evaluate the extent of soil and ground water contamination at the site.

The site, located at 150-154 Raymond Boulevard, operated as a metal barrel and drum reconditioning facility from the early 1940s until the early 1980s. As part of the process, caustic cleaning solution was used, generating a liquid waste. Ashy waste from an on-site incinerator and sludge were stored at the site, as well as numerous drums and other items. Following a 1991 request from New Jersey to evaluate the site, EPA identified an imminent fire hazard and removed drums of easily-ignitable chemicals from some abandoned box trailers. In 1994 there was a fire at the site. As a result, the Agency conducted an extensive site inspection that revealed ash piles, shredded tires, above- and underground storage tanks, contamination in buildings and tens of thousands of drums. Many of the drums were deteriorating and leaking, and some contained hazardous substances. Numerous hazardous wastes were identified at the site, including highly toxic compounds, including PCBs and dioxin, acids and chemicals that could easily catch fire or explode.

EPA addressed immediate risks by establishing 24-hour site security, and repairing and installing fencing and gates. The Agency removed more than 16,500 gallons of liquid hazardous wastes, 40,000 drums, 700 tons of tires, several ash piles and two gas cylinders. In addition, EPA excavated and removed ash piles with significant dioxin contamination, covered additional ash piles, treated cyanide liquids on site and conducted expansive testing and analysis of other potential hazards at the site. The Agency has already spent almost $3 million to clean up the site.

The Bayonne Barrel & Drum site consent agreement includes the following companies: