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PCB Capacitors Found in Dismal Swamp Safely Removed, Site Access Restricted

Release Date: 05/04/2000
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(00081) NEW YORK, N.Y. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported today that abandoned electrical devices containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) liquids have been removed  from an area in the Dismal Swamp off Woodbrook Road in South Plainfield where they were discovered last year. Historical information indicates that the property where the capacitors were found was operated as a landfill in the1950s.

EPA's Superfund team has been overseeing work by the property owner, Texas Eastern Transmission Corporation (TETCO), to reduce the threats posed by the site. This work has already included the removal of twenty-six leaking capacitors from the site for disposal. EPA will begin an investigation into the extent of the remaining contamination at the site in the coming months. The Agency considers PCBs a probable human carcinogen, which may also have serious effects on the immune, neurological and reproductive systems.

"We want to prevent the public from having direct contact with any soil contamination that remains at the site.  We are especially concerned because the Edison Wetlands Association has informed us that trails on the site are used by hikers and others for riding off-road vehicles," Mr. Richard Caspe, Director of EPA's Regional Superfund program, explained.  "At our request, TETCO has posted warning signs, set up temporary fencing to limit access to areas we know are contaminated and is installing guard rails at access points to prevent off-road vehicles from entering the site." Mr. Caspe said, "The company is to be commended for volunteering to deal promptly with the problem and its continued cooperation with EPA to ensure the public is aware of the potential threats posed by the site and in all aspects of the cleanup."