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EPA Takes Public Comment on Cleanup for Pohatcong Valley Site

Release Date: 8/3/2005
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For Release: Wednesday, August 3, 2005

(#05089) NEW YORK -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking community input on its plan to address contaminated soil and ground water at the Pohatcong Valley Groundwater Contamination Superfund site in Washington Borough and Franklin Township, NJ. Under the proposed plan, approximately 163,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil will be addressed. Most soils will be treated in place while some soil will be excavated and disposed of off-site. The Agency will also install and operate a ground water extraction, treatment and reinjection system. EPA will accept public comment on this plan and its technical reports during the 30-day public comment period, which started on July 27.

"The immediate threat to people's health has been addressed by connecting affected residences to a public water supply or providing homes with individual treatment units," said EPA Acting Regional Administrator Kathleen C. Callahan. "We are now addressing the long-term risks to the community and the environment by removing sources of soil and ground water contamination. We will also monitor the quality of the ground water to ensure that the cleanup is effective."

EPA's plan will clean up soil contaminated with trichloroethylene (TCE), and ground water contaminated with TCE and tetrachloroethylene (PCE). Soil hot spots contaminated with TCE in Washington Borough are continuing to contribute to ground water contamination that has spread to adjacent portions of Washington and Franklin Townships. EPA is recommending that the contaminated soils that are source areas for the ground water contamination be addressed through a combination of treatment and limited excavation. The ground water will be pumped, treated and reinjected into the aquifer. EPA will carefully monitor the ground water.

The Pohatcong Valley site was listed on EPA's National Priorities List (NPL) in March 1989. The site is being cleaned in phases. The first phase, covered by this proposed cleanup plan, will take care of TCE contaminated soils in Washington Borough, and TCE and PCE contaminated ground water in Washington and Franklin Townships. Studies are underway to determine if further actions will be needed to clean up ground water in the adjoining areas of Franklin and Greenwich Townships in the southwestern portion of Pohatcong Valley.

EPA will explain the proposed cleanup plan and take public comment at a public meeting on August 4 at 7:00 p.m. in the Warren County Vocational Technical School located on Route 57 at the border of Washington and Franklin Townships. The public comment period began on July 27 and will end on August 26, 2005.

Copies of site-related documents and the proposed cleanup plan are available for public review at the Warren County Health Department Office, 315 West Washington Avenue, Washington Borough, NJ and at EPA's New York office. The project manager, Stephen Cipot, will accept written or verbal comments at the meeting, or via mail at: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 290 Broadway, 19th floor, New York, NY 10007-1866; telephone: 212-637-4411; or email at: