22-02 Fair Lawn Avenue
Fair Lawn Borough, Bergen County
BLOCK: 113 LOT: 1 & 2
October 2009 Fact Sheet
The former Topps Cleaners is located
at 22-02 Fair Lawn Avenue. It is
bordered by an Exxon service station
to the east, a soccer field known as
Archery Plaza to the south, railroad
tracks to the west and Fair Lawn
Avenue to the north. The site is
currently a vacant lot.
Several dry cleaning establishments
occupied the site between 1950 and
2004. As a result of these operations,
the soil and ground water were
contaminated with the dry cleaning
fluid tetrachloroethene (also known
as perchloroethylene, or PCE), a
chlorinated volatile organic
compound. The contamination was
discovered during the remedial
investigation of the nearby BASF
property. The New Jersey
Department of Environmental
Protection (NJDEP) directed the
Topps property owner to conduct a
remedial investigation to determine
the extent of the PCE contamination
and develop a cleanup plan.
In 2004, Anderson Mulholland
Associates Incorporated (AMAI),
the Topps property owner's
environmental consultant, began the
remedial investigation of the
property, which included collecting
soil samples to delineate the soil
contamination and installing and
sampling on-site and off-site ground
water monitoring wells to delineate
the ground water contamination plume. When sampling revealed the
ground water plume had migrated
off-site in a southeasterly direction
to a residential area on Plaza Road,
NJDEP required the Topps property
owner to investigate whether PCE
vapors from the plume were entering
the overlying homes (a process
known as "vapor intrusion"). Since
2005, AMAI has conducted air
testing at 62 properties on Plaza
Road, Ramapo Terrace, Ramsey
Terrace, Reading Terrace and
Townley Road to evaluate the
potential for vapor intrusion at these
homes. The testing showed that 13
homes had levels of PCE vapors in
the indoor air that exceeded NJDEP's
Residential Indoor Air Screening
Level of three micrograms per cubic
meter (3 μg/m3) for this chemical.
AMAI has installed subsurface
depressurization systems (also
known as vapor mitigation systems)
at most of these homes to reduce the
levels of PCE vapors, and is
monitoring the indoor air at the homes
where PCE was detected in the subslab
soil gas at levels exceeding
NJDEP's Residential Soil Gas
Screening Level of 34 μg/m3.
In 2007, AMAI installed an electrical
resistance heating (ERH) system at
the former Topps Cleaners property
to remediate the PCE contamination
in the on-site soil. The ERH system
heated the soil and ground water to drive off the volatile contaminants.
The vapors were captured by a soil
vapor extraction system connected
to a carbon filter. The system was
shut off in 2008 after tests confirmed
the soil had been remediated to
NJDEP's soil cleanup criteria.
However, elevated levels of ground
water contaminants remained onsite.
The vapor intrusion investigation is
complete and no further residential
indoor air or sub-slab soil gas testing
is planned. AMAI is periodically
testing the indoor air at homes where
soil gas testing showed there were
elevated levels of PCE vapors beneath
the basement slabs but the
indoor air did not have significant
levels of PCE vapors. If the monitoring
shows the PCE level in the
indoor air at a home exceeds
NJDEP's Indoor Air Screening Level
for this chemical, the owner of the
property will be offered a subsurface
AMAI continues to investigate the
extent of the ground water plume.
To date, 66 on-site and off-site
ground water monitoring wells are
being monitored and AMAI is installing
additional wells to the west
of the railroad tracks near the Topps
AMAI will monitor the ground water
at the Topps site to evaluate
whether the levels of the volatile
organic contaminants decrease over
time. Additional monitoring wells
may be required east of Sunnyside
Drive in order to delineate the plume.
Once the ground water plume has
been delineated, options to remediate
the plume will be evaluated.
Remediation of the ground water
contamination plume will also eliminate
any vapor intrusion issues at
the affected homes.
Delineate: To determine the extent of contamination in soil, ground
water or air due to a discharge of hazardous substances.
Ground Water: Subsurface water that fills pores between materials
such as sand, soil or gravel.
Indoor Air Screening Level (IASL): The acceptable concentration
of a volatile organic compound in indoor air as determined by NJDEP
based on toxicological data and other criteria. If indoor air sampling
reveals that an IASL is exceeded, further action is required to address
the indoor air contamination. NJDEP's current Residential IASL for
PCE is three micrograms per cubic meter (3 μg/m3).
Montoring Well: Monitoring wells provide access to ground water in
order to get information about site conditions, such as the extent and type
of ground water contamination, soil types, depth to ground water and
direction of ground water flow.
Perchloroethylene (PCE): Another name for tetrachloroethene, also
known as Perc. This volatile organic compound is commonly used as a
dry cleaning fluid and degreasing agent.
Remedial Investigation: An in-depth study designed to gather data
necessary to determine the nature and extent of contamination at a site
and establish criteria for addressing it.
Remediate: To remedy or clean up.
Soil Gas: The gases trapped between soil particles.
Soil Gas Screening Level (SGSL): The concentration of a volatile
organic compound in sub-slab soil gas that when exceeded triggers
action to ensure the concentration of the contaminant in the indoor air
does not exceed NJDEP's IASL for that chemical. NJDEP's current
Residential SGSL for PCE is 34 micrograms per cubic meter (34 μg/m3).
Soil Vapor Extraction System: A mechanism that remediates VOCcontaminated
soil by applying a vacuum to the contaminated area to pull
out the organic vapors. The captured vapors are treated to prevent
release into the environment.
Subsurface Depressurization System (SSDS): A device that prevents
vapors in the soil beneath a building from entering the structure and
contaminating the indoor air. It ventilates the soil directly below the
basement floor or slab and diverts the vapors away from the building.
Vapor Intrusion: Occurs when fumes from VOC-contaminated soil
or ground water seep through cracks and holes in the foundations or slabs
of buildings and accumulate in basements, crawl spaces and/or living
Volatile Organic Compound (VOC): Carbon-containing chemicals
that evaporate readily at room temperature. Examples of products that
contain VOCs include gasoline, dry cleaning fluid and degreasing agents.
For more information please
contact Heather Swartz,
NJDEP Community Relations
Coordinator, at (609) 984-7135, or write to
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
Site Remediation Program
(609) 984-3081 - Office of Community Relations