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EPA Addresses Community Eyesore in Newark

Release Date: 08/07/2008
Contact Information: Beth Totman (212) 637-3662,

(New York, NY) It took less than six months for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to turn an abandoned piece of property, located just across the street from private homes in the Ironbound section of Newark, into a parcel of land that no longer poses a threat to the surrounding community. EPA’s Regional Administrator, Alan J. Steinberg, was joined by City of Newark Mayor Cory Booker, as well as City of Newark Councilman Augusto Amador at the Tidewater Baling site to mark the culmination of EPA’s cleanup efforts.

“The story of Tidewater Baling conveys the spirit of EPA’s Superfund program,” said Mr. Steinberg. “In a very short time, we addressed the immediate threats at the site and made sure it was safe for the community; we are now ready to hand it back to the City of Newark.”

"In less than six months, the Environmental Protection Agency has removed more than 18,000 tons of contaminated soil from the old Tidewater Baling site. This massive effort restores an important piece of property to productive use, and, more importantly, removes a deadly environmental hazard from our community", said Mayor Booker.

The Tidewater Baling site is a 2.5-acre parcel of land that is mixed in among industrial facilities, commercial properties and residences. Sampling done by EPA at the site revealed elevated levels of heavy metals, and Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) in the soil. Last March, EPA began a large-scale cleanup of contaminated surface soil at the site and has spent over $5 million on the effort. By the end of the cleanup, approximately 15,000 tons of lead-contaminated soil and 3,000 tons of PCB-contaminated soil will have been excavated and removed. The excavated areas have been backfilled with a one-foot deep layer of crushed stone. Additionally, EPA demolished two abandoned buildings that were on the site, and shipped the building debris off-site. EPA also dismantled and shipped off-site remnants of large metal structures that had been used in the baling process. EPA will complete the last of its cleanup work within the next month and will then hand this site over to Newark.

In 1945, the site became home to Tidewater Baling Corporation, which processed and compacted scrap metal, including drums, automobiles, transformers, and industrial scrap for recycling. Oil from the reclamation and baling process was discarded on property soil. These activities continued until early 2000, when operations at the site ceased.

Tidewater Baling Corporation entered into an agreement with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) in 1986 and 1992 to address certain contaminated areas of the site. In 2005 and 2006, the NJDEP conducted an emergency cleanup, which included the removal of oil from a baler pit on the property, the removal and disposal of cylinders, drums and tankers filled with petroleum products and hazardous waste, and the installation of a fence surrounding the majority of the site.

For more information on the EPA’s Superfund program, go to: