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EPA Removes Part of Federal Superfund Site in Sparta from the National Priorities List of Hazardous Waste Sites

Release Date: 08/08/2002
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(#02078) NEW YORK, N.Y. – The cleanup work has been completed at the Facility Area portion of the A.O. Polymer Superfund site in Sparta, New Jersey, removing the threat to human health and the environment, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As a result, the Agency published a public notice of intent to delete that portion of the site from the National Priorities List (NPL) of hazardous waste sites in a local newspaper and initiated a 30-day public comment period, which ended on July 20, 2002. No public comments on the proposal were received and EPA is formally removing the Facility Area portion of the site from the NPL. The portion of the site known as the ‘Disposal Area’ will remain on the NPL.

“This is a postive development for the people of Sparta. The cleanup at the Facility Area at the A.O. Polymer site has been successfully completed and the area can be redeveloped for unrestricted use,” said EPA Regional Administrator Jane M. Kenny. “In addition, the ground water pump and treat system is effectively removing the contamination that impacts the local aquifer,” Ms. Kenny noted.

From the 1960s until 1994, resins, plastics, paper coatings, and specialty polymers were produced at the 4.2- acre A.O. Polymer site. The local health department cited the facility for improper hazardous waste and air quality violations several times while it was in operation and reported finding unlined disposal pits and hundreds of leaking and deteriorated drums during site inspections.

In 1981, the state of New Jersey took action when its Department of Environmental Protection removed more than 3,000 tons of contaminated soils and 900 drums of hazardous waste from the disposal pit area and shipped the material to a licensed off-site disposal facility. Manufacturing operations ceased at the site in 1994 and it was abandoned by its owner the following year. In April 1994, EPA initiated another action to address immediate environmental hazards posed by the site and took additional measures to remove and properly dispose of hazardous materials stockpiled by the former owner on the Facility Area. After these cleanup efforts were completed, EPA’s testing at the Facility Area did not identify any remaining contamination problems, leading to this partial site deletion.

EPA selected a cleanup plan for the A.O. Polymer site in 1991, and in 1992 entered into an agreement with the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM), which sent cleaning fluids to the site for recycling, to perform the cleanup of contaminated soil and ground water at the site. Under the plan, a soil vapor extraction (SVE) system was installed in 1995 to remove volatile organic compound (VOC) contamination from the soil beneath the former disposal area. The SVE system has removed a substantial quantity of an estimated 50,000 pounds of VOCs in this area, which is a source of the ground water contamination. In 1998, a ground water extraction and treatment system was put in operation. It uses an air stripper to remove VOCs from the extracted ground water. To date, the system has removed 16.5 million gallons of contaminated ground water and captured 13 thousand pounds of solvent. The system will continue to operate until the soil and ground water are cleaned to allow for unrestricted use.

“IBM has been a cooperative responsible party in undertaking the cleanup of the A.O. Polymer, sparing taxpayers the financial cost of correcting the hazardous waste problems associated with this site,” Ms. Kenny pointed out.

Based on a comprehensive review of the Superfund cleanup and several post cleanup inspections, EPA and the state of New Jersey have concluded that the appropriate construction work has been completed at the Facility Area portion of the site. Deletion of any site or portion of it from the NPL does not make the site ineligible for later cleanup actions. If further actions prove necessary, they can be taken without renominating the site to the NPL.