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EPA Proposes Interim Cleanup Plan for Galloway’s Superfund Site

Release Date: 08/07/2003
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(#03094) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today proposed an interim cleanup plan that will contain and treat contaminated ground water at the Emmell’s Septic Landfill Site located in Galloway Township, New Jersey. This interim measure will keep the contamination from spreading while the Agency investigates long-term cleanup solutions.

“Area residents who could be affected by the contamination are being connected to city water to make sure that they have a safe source of drinking water,” said EPA Regional Administrator Jane M. Kenny. “This interim cleanup plan will prevent the contamination from spreading further and potentially affecting more people.”

The cleanup plan proposed today calls for extracting and treating contaminated ground water, then discharging the treated water to either an on-site pond or a nearby stream, depending on which is found most practical during treatment system design. While treating the ground water, EPA will conduct additional investigations of the site contamination in order to decide on a plan for the long-term cleanup of the site.

From 1967 to 1979, the Emmel family owners accepted septic waste and sewage sludge for disposal at the 38-acre site located at 28 South Zurich Avenue. Additionally, they disposed of chemical wastes, drums of paint sludge, gas cylinders, household garbage and construction debris at the site. They were cited with various disposal-practice violations by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) during the late 1970s. The facility shut down in August 1979.

NJDEP and the Atlantic County Health Department tested soil, ground water and some residential wells in the area in 1984. They found volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the soil and ground water at the landfill. In addition, several shallow residential wells in the vicinity of the site were found to contain VOCs. These wells were subsequently closed and replaced with deeper wells to avoid contaminated ground water. In 1996, NJDEP and township consultants conducted additional sampling and referred the site to EPA in 1997.

EPA conducted further ground water and soil contamination investigations and found that a number of VOCs were present. Test pit excavations found waste materials such as paint-like substances, sludge and liquid-storage drums, indicating that waste materials were a continuing source of ground water contamination.

In 1999, the site was added to the National Priorities List of the nation’ s most hazardous waste sites, and EPA began removing buried drums and other waste material that were the main source of continuing ground water contamination. This work was completed in February 2000, with 435 drums, 11 compressed- gas cylinders, and approximately 28,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil excavated and disposed of off- site. To address actual and potential drinking water contamination, one residence had a point-of-entry water treatment (POET) system installed, and other residential wells are being monitored to ensure that elevated levels of contamination do not appear. Residences that could potentially be affected and the one residence with a POET system already installed will be connected to municipal water systems.

EPA has scheduled a public meeting to discuss its proposed interim cleanup plan at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, August 13th, at the Atlantic County Library, 306 East Jimmie Leeds Road, Galloway, New Jersey. At the meeting, the Agency will explain the proposed plan and all of the alternatives presented in the interim remedy study for the site. The public comment period began Wednesday and will end on September 5, 2003.

Copies of site-related documents and the proposed interim cleanup plan are available for public review at the Atlantic County Library, (609) 652-2352. Comments will be received at the meeting, or can be sent to: Joe Gowers, Remedial Project Manager, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 290 Broadway, 19th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10007-1866.