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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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June 16, 2005

Contact: Peter Boger/Elaine Makatura
(609) 984-1795


Responsible Parties Fail to Address Petroleum Contamination

(05/78) TRENTON -- Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today announced the start of a soil and buried drum cleanup at the KTK Drum site in Edison Township continuing the state's efforts to improve water quality along the Raritan River's lower section. The KTK Drum site cleanup is part of DEP's September 2004 Raritan River initiative, which mandated specific cleanup work at six contaminated sites.

"This state-funded action puts responsible parties on notice that 'time's up for cleanup' in New Jersey," said Acting Governor Richard J. Codey. "We are following through on our promise to eliminate pollution sources to the Raritan River, a source of drinking water for thousands of New Jersey residents."

DEP authorized more than $800,000 for the project, with an initial $286,000 obligated to conduct the interim remedial measures. This interim cleanup consists of removing buried drums from two areas on site, and continuing the excavation and disposal of a terra cotta pipeline and catch basins that still contain oil. DEP will conduct a full remedial investigation after the interim cleanup work is completed to determine what additional cleanup work is necessary.

"We continue to focus on zero tolerance for cleanup delays at targeted contaminated sites in order to achieve water quality improvements along the Raritan River and safeguard the health of local residents," said Commissioner Campbell. "As we address contamination from sites on a watershed basis, we need to speed the pace of cleanup work at sites like this former asphalt and oil processing facility."

DEP included the KTK Drum site as part of the Raritan River initiative when it was linked with a petroleum discharge found impacting a tributary of the waterway. At the start of the initiative, DEP worked with the Edison Wetlands Association to identify sites along the Raritan River where cleanup work had lagged for years. In April 2005, DEP launched a similar region-based effort targeting 10 contaminated sites along the lower Delaware River for faster cleanup.

"I am encouraged that DEP worked cooperatively with the township and the Edison Wetlands Association to aggressively identify and begin cleanup at a source of pollution to the Raritan River," said Edison Mayor George Spadoro. "The cleanup efforts go hand in hand with the township's plans to increase public access to the Raritan River waterfront for residents to enjoy recreationally."

"It's better to clean up now and break the cycles of pollution than to waste time with any further delays," said Senator Barbara Buono. "The appalling evidence of pollution at this site is staggering, but we need to move ahead to protect our sources of drinking water."

"I commend Governor Codey and DEP Commissioner Campbell for cleaning up the KTD Drum Site," said Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan. "The citizens of Edison and all New Jersey residents can rest assured that protection of the environment remains a top priority in the state of New Jersey."

The KTK Drum site work began as an investigation into a discharge from an unknown source located west of the end of Midvale Road. The seep consisted of an oily discharge emanating from a slope in the woods that led to a small creek leading to the Raritan River.

In September 2004, DEP conducted an emergency removal in the area of the seep and unearthed an 18-inch terra cotta pipeline containing oil and sludge. The pipeline was traced 700 feet east to the KTK Drum site where two caches of buried drums also were found. The drums appear to contain oil, resin and paint-like materials.

At that time, DEP hired an emergency removal contractor to stop the oily discharge into the Raritan tributary. Approximately 700 feet of pipeline and surrounding contaminated soil were removed. DEP expended $270,700 during the removal action. Analytical results from the drum areas revealed elevated levels of polycyclic aromatic hyrdrocarbons (PAHs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

Upon conducting a deed search of the area, it was found that the KTK property was once part of a large oil storage facility dating back to the 1930s. The oil facility encompassed a number of different adjoining properties, which have since been subdivided. Also, an asphalt plant operated on the properties from the 1940s to the 1960s.

DEP issued an enforcement directive to the potential responsible parties in December 2004. Rimbi Corp., current owner of the KTK property, and Swan Michigan Oil Co., former owner of the property, appeared willing to conduct the interim remedial measures, but the companies failed to sign an Administrative Consent Order to perform the necessary investigation and cleanup work.

DEP's Raritan River effort also resulted in an agreement this April for a privately-funded $13.2 million PCB cleanup at the Hatco Site in Woodbridge Township and preservation of a separate 34-acre parcel to compensate the state for injuries to natural resources. The settlement with Hatco is another significant step to reverse damage caused by decades of uncontrolled pollution to the state's water resources.

In September 2004, DEP's Raritan River initiative initially identified five sites along the Raritan River with continuing discharges: Edison Township Landfill, Edgeboro Landfill, ILR Landfill, Hatco and Rhône-Poulenc/Bayer CropScience.

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.




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Last Updated: June 17, 2005