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EPA Proposes Cleanup Plan for Roebling Superfund Site

Release Date: 08/22/2003
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(#03098) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today proposed a cleanup plan to address contaminated soil, sediment and ground water at the Roebling Steel Company site in New Jersey. The plan includes capping the 34-acre slag-dump area of the site, which was originally slated for excavation and treatment prior to capping.

“The ongoing EPA cleanup at the Roebling Steel site – to which we’ve already committed $50 million – will ultimately make it possible to return the entire property to safe and productive use,” said EPA Regional Administrator Jane M. Kenny. “The work called for in this proposed plan, combined with the completion of ongoing work, will conclude the cleanup of this massive and complicated site.”

Under the proposed plan, EPA will cap contaminated soil throughout the site and the slag area with soil or asphalt. Areas covered with a soil cap will be replanted. The Agency will monitor the cap to ensure that it remains in place.

In addition, sediments from the nearby waterways will be dredged and dewatered, deposited on land on the site and capped. The dredged sediment will be replaced by clean soil and organic material and will be replanted as wetlands. Water recovered during the dewatering process will be treated and discharged on site. Ground water, sediments and surface water will be monitored to ensure that the cleanup plan is working as anticipated. Deed restrictions will be put into place to prevent use of contaminated water for drinking purposes and to prevent digging through the cap.

The Roebling Steel Company site, located in Roebling Village in Florence Township, is an approximately 200-acre abandoned industrial property adjacent to the Delaware River. The facility was used from 1906 until 1982 to fabricate steel products, generating significant quantities of liquid and solid wastes, which were disposed of on site or in the Delaware River and Crafts Creek. Over half of the property was created by filling in the Delaware River with process slag, cinders and other fill materials. The site was contaminated with both organic and inorganic compounds, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), asbestos and heavy metals. The site was added to the National Priority List (NPL) of the nation’s most hazardous waste sites in September 1983.

EPA has been cleaning up the site in phases. To date, the Agency has removed over 4,100 drums containing corrosive and toxic materials, almost 120 tons of base neutral solids, nearly 46,000 gallons of transformer oil and over 430 tons of transformers from the site. Nearly 270,000 gallons of tank liquids and 1,351 tons of tank sludge, as well as over 1,000 tons of heavy metal, asbestos and chemical- containing dust piles were removed. In addition, 126 tons of burned tires and 261 tons of recyclable tires were taken off site. Reuse was possible as well for over 5,000 gallons of acid, three pounds of metallic mercury and 10 compressed gas cylinders. The Agency also removed 91,592 linear feet of asbestos, and excavated and disposed of about 780 cubic yards of contaminated soil from two parks bordering the southern edge of the site. EPA installed a perimeter fence and security guards to restrict access to the site.

Currently, site buildings are being decontaminated and demolished; then materials are sorted and recycled or disposed of. In addition to this ongoing activity, EPA is working on the historic restoration of the Main Gate House and Ambulance Garage.

EPA will discuss its proposed cleanup plan with interested members of the public at 7 p.m. on Thursday, August 28, at the Florence Township Municipal Building, 711 Broad Street, Florence, New Jersey. At the meeting, the Agency will explain the proposed plan and all of the alternatives reviewed in the study for the site. The public comment period begins August 21 and will end on September 19, 2003.

Copies of site-related documents and the proposed cleanup plan are available for public review at the Florence Township Public Library, (609) 499-0143. Comments will be received at the meeting, or can be sent to: Tamara Rossi, Remedial Project Manager, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 290 Broadway, 19th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10007-1866.