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September 9, 2004

Contact: Fred Mumford
(609) 984-1795


Focus of Water Quality Improvements

(04/101) TRENTON -- Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today announced a Raritan River initiative that requires specific cleanup work by responsible parties at five contaminated sites along the river's lower section to improve water quality.

"This initiative calls for renewed action to eliminate pollution to the Raritan River, a source of drinking water for thousands of New Jersey residents and a source of enjoyment for anglers and boaters," said Commissioner Campbell. "Because of cleanup delays, we seek timely action to protect this valuable ecological resource."

DEP's Raritan River initiative focuses on contaminated sites where cleanup work to address both ongoing discharges and long-term remediation has lagged in recent years. With help from the Edison Wetlands Association, DEP identified the five sites along the Raritan River with continuing discharges: Edison Township Landfill, Edgeboro Landfill, ILR Landfill, Hatco and Rhône-Poulenc/Bayer CropScience. DEP is reviewing additional sites along the river. If appropriate action is not taken within new timeframes set by DEP to address the immediate concerns, the Department will proceed with formal enforcement measures against the responsible parties.

The Lower Raritan Watershed covers 352 square miles in the central New Jersey counties of Middlesex, Monmouth, Somerset and Union. It contains the Raritan River, Green Brook, South River, Lawrence Brook and Manalapan Brook. Land use is more than 50 percent urban, with remaining lands wetlands (19.7 percent), forest (17.5 percent), agriculture, water, and barren land.

Commissioner Campbell also announced that DEP is preparing to undertake similar initiatives. The next focus will be on the lower Delaware River and environmental justice communities. DEP will conduct an analysis similar to the Raritan River effort to identify contaminated sites that need increased oversight, and the use of necessary enforcement action to ensure responsible parties stop ongoing discharges and complete long-term, permanent cleanups.

The specific actions required by DEP under the Raritan River initiative include work at several types of sites.

Edison and Edgeboro landfills
At Edison Township Landfill and Edgeboro Landfill in East Brunswick, recent DEP site visits identified areas where floatable material and debris were going directly into the river. DEP directed both parties to remove all waste along the riverbank to construct a shoreline stabilization system and to provide a schedule for taking these actions. The facilities are currently developing landfill closure plans for DEP approval.

Edison Township Landfill is comprised of a 35-acre main site, as well as an adjacent older landfill about 20 acres in size. DEP registered Edison Landfill in 1978 to accept municipal, bulky and non-chemical industrial waste. The landfill ceased operating in 1990 and is covered with soil and dense vegetation.

The Edgeboro Disposal, Inc. Landfill (EDI) site in East Brunswick operated from 1954 to 1987 and is now closed. EDI consists of two designated areas: the first, approximately 213 acres contained within an impermeable cut-off wall; and, the second, approximately 155 acres, designated as Areas 1 through 7, located out-side the wall. EDI's area inside the cut-off wall is shared with the presently operating Middlesex County Landfill (MCLF) that purchased portions of the site from EDI in 1988. Of the 155 acres outside the cut-off wall, EDI previously remediated areas 5 and 6 that consist of 47 acres.

At the ILR Landfill in Edison, the facility operators have complied with all closure requirements except for leachate management at the site. DEP has instructed ILR to construct a leachate management system and submit the necessary progress reports for this work. ILR is working to meet a December 16, 2004 schedule.

The ILR Sanitary Landfill is a privately owned sanitary landfill covering 145 acres, of which approximately 131 acres comprise the landfill. The facility began accepting waste in 1964 and ceased operations in April 1985. Municipal, construction and demolition, vegetative and dry non-hazardous industrial wastes were disposed of at this landfill. Landfill gas is collected at ILR, Edgeboro and Edison Township landfills for use at an electric generation station on the other side of the Raritan River.

DEP is requiring a large-scale PCB cleanup at the Hatco site in Woodbridge, currently owned by W.R. Grace. DEP is working with EPA to approve cleanup limits for a site-wide remedy for PCBs that involves both capping and off-site removal. The cleanup under DEP review will cost more than $20 million funded by the responsible parties.

W. R. Grace & Co. (Grace) owned and operated the site from 1959 to 1978 as the Hatco Chemical Division. On August 21, 1978, Grace sold the assets of the Hatco Chemical Division to an entity that became known as Hatco Chemical Corporation. Hatco Chemical Corporation changed its name to Hatco Corporation (Hatco) in 1986. Since the late 1980s and pursuant to a 1992 administrative consent order between DEP and Hatco, the site has undergone significant investigation and interim emergency cleanups to address environmental contamination.

Rhône-Poulenc/Bayer CropScience
At the Rhône-Poulenc/Bayer CropScience site in Middlesex Borough, DEP is requiring the company to install an interim ground water collection and treatment system for arsenic this fall to end discharges to surface water entering the Raritan River. DEP also is requiring the responsible party to begin construction by May 2005 of a ditch liner system to prevent contaminants from entering the river.

Rhône-Poulenc was a pesticide manufacturing facility. Arsenic is the predominant contaminant of concern. Rhône-Poulenc entered into an administrative Consent Order May 1986 to remediate the extensive arsenic and pesticide contamination of the main site and neighboring properties. The contamination covers about 50 acres of light industrial and business park property. The present day responsible party is Bayer CropScience.



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