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EPA Gives New Jersey Site the Thumbs Up

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

(New York, NY) Based on risk assessments, several cleanup actions and ground water sampling results, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing that no further action is necessary to clean up soil and only long-term monitoring and a well installation restriction is needed for ground water at the Johnson and Towers site located in Mount Laurel Township, Burlington County, New Jersey. The determination of no further action stems from several years of data collection which has revealed that contaminated soil and ground water are not threats to the surrounding community and environment. To further explain the proposal, EPA will have a public meeting on Tuesday, August 19 from 7pm to 9pm at the Mount Laurel Township Municipal Courtroom, located at 100 Mount Laurel Road.

“EPA has kept a close watch on this site for years to ensure that contamination at the site was kept at bay and that the community was safe,” said Alan J. Steinberg, Regional Administrator. “EPA can now assure residents that the contamination does not pose a risk and has been effectively addressed.”

The Johnson and Towers site is not on the National Priorities List (NPL) of the nation’s most hazardous waste sites, but EPA took the lead on addressing this site in the early 1980s. The site, which covers 7.5 acres, is an active facility of Johnson and Towers, Inc. The property includes parking lots, a building for offices, and an active shop where Johnson and Towers first began remanufacturing and rebuilding diesel engines in 1976.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the facility primarily generated waste-containing solvents, acids, caustics, and alcohols. Industrial wastewater, containing some of these products, was discharged into the shop floor drain system which directed it into a series of concrete tanks, one of which was perforated to allow for percolation in to the subsurface. The wastewater disposal system was then modified and expanded so that wastewater was discharged into a shallow leach field, which quickly overloaded due to the volume of wastewater. The leach field became inoperable in 1982 and one year later, Johnson and Towers connected to the public sewer system and abandoned the leach field.

Under EPA oversight, Johnson and Towers, Inc. has taken a number of actions, including excavating and removing the leach field. EPA’s subsequent assessment of the soil at the facility has not identified any areas of soil contamination that would pose an unacceptable current or future risk to the surrounding community or the environment. While ground water at the site contains residual levels of arsenic, the concentrations have remained constant over the last eight years, and do not appear to be migrating. Therefore, EPA is recommending no further action. However, since there are some residual levels of arsenic in the ground water, a well installation restriction will ensure that wells are not to be installed in the future. The monitoring and well restriction will be in place as long as arsenic concentrations in ground water remain at the current levels.

EPA will select the final remedy for the Johnson and Towers site after reviewing and considering all comments submitted during a 30-day public comment period which ends August 29, 2008. Interested individuals can send comments to:

Grisell V. Diaz-Cotto, Remedial Project Manager
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
290 Broadway, 19th floor
New York, New York 10007-1866

For more about EPA’s Superfund program, visit: