Government

EPA Proposes Plan to Treat American Cyanamid Superfund Site in Bridgewater

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BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The United States Environmental Protection Agency, in conjunction with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Bridgewater Township, announced Wednesday the cleanup proposal for the final portion of the American Cyanamid Superfund site in Bridgewater, according to a release.

The Superfund site, in the Finderne section of town, is on both the National Priorities List and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's list of Superfund sites that were targeted for immediate and intense attention in December 2017.

"After three decades of studies, we are exercising leadership and taking important action by proposing to remove and treat 55,000 cubic yards of acid tars and chemicals from the floodplains of the Raritan River," Pruitt said in the release. "EPA has heard the concerns and recommendations of the communities surrounding this toxic threat, and we will move purposefully and quickly to address them."

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The cleanup of the Bridgewater Superfund site is a total cost of $74 million, and involves excavation and de-watering of contaminated material in two impoundments, followed by shipment out of the area to a facility for treatment and disposal. According to the release, soil or clay impacted by the impoundment contaminants will also be treated with on-site stabilization or solidification.

Berm materials that are surrounding the property and do not need treatment will be used as backfill.

According to the release, it is estimated that more than 44,000 tons of hazardous waste will be permanently destroyed, and about 2.3 million gallons of contaminated liquid will be collected and treated.

"Administrator Pruitt has restored Superfund to its rightful place as a core mission of the agency," EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez said in the release. "This cleanup, along with the groundwater treatment plant that is currently under construction, will result in positive outcomes for the people of Bridgewater and will help keep harmful contaminants like benzene from reaching the Raritan River or migrating to other off-site areas."

Bridgewater Mayor Dan Hayes said in the release that the township is in support of the EPA's work.

"The health and safety of our residents is our primary concern, and we support the efforts to address this superfund cleanup under the watchful guidance of the EPA," he said. "The EPA and Pfizer have conducted thorough research to come up with a method that will treat the most difficult impound area in a safe and efficient manner. We greatly appreciate their diligence and emphasis on safety."

The EPA will hold a public meeting June 12 to explain the cleanup proposal and take public comments. An informal public information session will be held at 6 p.m., and the public meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the Bridgewater Municipal Building, on Commons Way.

Comments will be accepted on the project until June 28.

The Cyanamid Superfund Site has a history of pollution dating back to 1915, and it was put on the federal Superfund list in 1983. In 1999, a portion of the site was removed, freeing it up for redevelopment and reuse, and becoming the TD Bank Ballpark on East Main Street and the Promenade Shopping Center.

In 2012, the EPA selected a cleanup plan to address the contaminated soil, groundwater and six waste disposal areas at the site. That phase is being performed by Wyeth Holdings LLC, and involves collecting and treating groundwater contamination with benzene.

The new groundwater pump and treat system in the area prevents contaminated water from seeping into the Raritan River, Cuckolds Brook and Middle Brook.

For more information, visit www.epa.gov/superfund/american-cyanamid.

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