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EPA Proposes Innovative Way to Clean Up Iceland Coin Laundry Site

Release Date: 09/07/2006
Contact Information: Ben Barry, (212) 637-3651 or

(New York, NY) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to use new, innovative technologies alongside more traditional methods to finish cleaning up the Iceland Coin Laundry Superfund Site in Vineland, New Jersey. The cleanup plan calls for injecting a biological additive into the ground water to break hazardous chemicals down into a form that is not harmful to people or the environment. This method will remove the threat from remaining volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the ground water.

“Once we are done, you would literally be able to drink the water under this site, thanks to this very innovative and advanced cleanup approach,” said Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg. “This treatment method will have wide-spread applications at sites across New Jersey and across the country.”

The former Iceland Coin Laundry and Dry Cleaning facility operated from approximately 1953 until 1971. The laundromat had four coin-operated dry cleaning units that used four gallons of tetrachloroethene (PCE) each. The lint filters from the dry cleaning units were burned outside in the back of the building.

On September 3, 1987, the City of Vineland Health Department collected a sample from a residential well and found trichloroethane (TCE). The Health Department collected subsequent samples from the well and found both TCE and PCE at levels that exceeded both state and federal ground water standards. Based on these results, the homeowner was advised not to drink or cook with the water.

In the early 1990's, the Vineland Health Department collected samples from 55 residential drinking water wells in the area. They found VOCs and mercury at levels above state and federal standards in 21 of the 55 water well samples.

In November 1991, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) installed devices to remove contaminants at the tap as a temporary fix. In 1994, the Vineland City Water Department hooked those residents up to the town public water system. The site was placed on EPA’s National Priorities List of the country’s most contaminated sites in October 1999.

Based upon an evaluation of the various alternatives, including more traditional and slower cleanup method where ground water is pumped out and put through treatment before re-injecting it into the ground, EPA is recommending treating the ground water with biological additives to break down the contaminants into less harmful forms. If any residences or businesses within the area of the groundwater contamination are found to have not yet been connected to public water, EPA would offer to connect them and seal their wells.

For more information on the Iceland Laundry site: