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EPA’s Fox Views Contaminated Groundwater Treatment System in Operation at Vineland Chemical Superfund Site in Cumberland County

Release Date: 08/16/2000
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(#00155) NEW YORK – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator Jeanne M. Fox today visited the Vineland Chemical Company federal Superfund site to mark the start-up of the 2 million gallon-per-day (mgd) groundwater pump and treatment system at the Vineland site. The company’s disposal of waste from herbicide manufacturing contaminated the plant grounds, the shallow groundwater and, eventually, the surface waters near the site. The company began operations at the 54-acre site in 1950 and shut down in 1994.

The new cleanup system removes arsenic from the shallow groundwater, which eliminates a major source of contamination of the sediments and surface waters of the nearby Maurice River and Union Lake. Although the treatment system has stopped the flow of arsenic from the source into the nearby surface water, river and lake, EPA will continue to monitor recreational activities in the Maurice River and Union Lake.

The treated groundwater from the cleanup system is being discharged on an interim basis into the Blackwater Branch, a tributary to the Maurice River. Ultimately, in order to accelerate the cleanup, the treated wastewater will be discharged directly into the aquifer, which increases the volume of flow for another sequence of treatment. EPA will be using a method called soil flushing to clean up the estimated 150,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil on the plant site. Treated water will be used to clean the arsenic from the soil. When completed, the treatment process will be a closed-loop system, flushing the arsenic into shallow groundwater, which will then be collected and treated again. It will then be discharged safely into the aquifer.

Regional Administrator Fox, who visited the site today with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Philadelphia District Engineer Lt. Col. Timothy Brown and local officials said, "This cutting edge technology is the latest in a series of EPA actions to eliminate the environmental and potential public health problems posed by the site. It is an excellent demonstration of how the federal Superfund program provides assistance to local communities like Vineland that face serious pollution problems."

The Philadelphia District of the Army Corps of Engineers supervised the work of the construction contractor, Black and Veatch of Overland Park, Kansas and is now supervising the work of the current contractor Sevenson Environmental Services, Inc. of Niagara Falls, N.Y., which is operating the system. Funds from the federal Superfund Trust covered 90% of the $15.1 million in construction costs and the state of New Jersey funded the remaining 10%.

In addition to EPA plans to clean up the arsenic-contaminated soil on the plant property, the agency will also address an estimated 90,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediments in the Blackwater Branch adjacent to the site, as well as the arsenic-contaminated sediments in the Maurice River and Union Lake.

Past EPA Actions

In 1994, EPA fenced off the contaminated areas on the property and removed hazardous chemicals stored on the site. These actions significantly reduced the immediate risk to human health and the environment posed by the site. In 1995, EPA completed building demolition work at the site. The work, which cost approximately $3 million, included transporting over 2,500 tons of building debris to federal and state approved facilities for disposal.

The property owner entered into a consent decree in 1994 in which the family estate is contributing to the cost of the cleanup. Over $3 million has been collected so far.