Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

Superfund Site:


Cleanup Activities

On this page:

On related pages:



The American Cyanamid Superfund Site is located in Bridgewater Township, New Jersey and was added to the National Priorities List in 1983 after contamination was found at the site. Prior owners used the 575-acre site for numerous chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing operations for more than 90 years, resulting in the contamination of waste disposal areas (referred to as impoundments), soil and groundwater with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semi-VOCs, and metals. In 1998, EPA deleted a 140-acre portion of the 575-acre site from the National Priorities List, leaving 435 acres to be addressed. The 140 acre parcel of land, which primarily consisted of administrative and laboratory buildings, has been redeveloped for commercial use. All manufacturing at the site stopped in 1999, with most buildings demolished by 2000. Wyeth Holdings LLC, a subsidiary of Pfizer Inc., acquired the site in 2009 and assumed responsibility for its cleanup. The long-term cleanup of the site is ongoing.

EPA added the site to the Superfund program’s National Priorities List in September 1983 after contamination was found in impoundments, soils and groundwater. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection served as the lead agency for the site until March 2009, when EPA assumed the lead role. Since 1983, more than 80 acres and over 1 million cubic yards of impoundment material at the site have been addressed through a number of different cleanup actions. In addition, more than 1 billion gallons of groundwater have been collected from the site’s pumping wells since the 1980s at an average withdrawal rate of over 650,000 gallons per day in order to significantly reduce the off-site migration of contaminated groundwater. The site-wide remedy, which is currently being designed, will address site soils, groundwater and the contents of six impoundments. In 2011, a removal action was completed under EPA oversight to mitigate the discharge of highly contaminated groundwater to the Raritan River and Cuckel’s Brook. The remediation of impoundments 15 and 16 has largely been completed, with revegetation activities to be implemented along with the site-wide remedy. Impoundments 1 and 2 were evaluated separately due to the highly complex nature of their contamination and their proximity to the Raritan River. The statuses of these ongoing response actions at the site are discussed in further detail below.


Top of Page

What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?

The 435-acre site is being addressed by Wyeth Holdings LLC under the oversight of EPA through four separate actions:

Site-wide Remedy: The site-wide remedy presented in a 2012 Record of Decision calls for the treatment via in-situ solidification/stabilization and/or the installation of engineered capping systems to address three highly contaminated impoundments and all site soils, as well as the collection and treatment of site-related contaminated groundwater. The remedy also called for the completion of an ecological risk assessment to determine whether three additional impoundments would require excavation and relocation. The remedial design of the site-wide remedy is currently underway and is generally being addressed in two components: (1) impoundments and site-wide soils, and (2) groundwater. The design of the groundwater component will be completed in 2018, after which the design of the impoundments/soils component will be initiated. Construction of portions of the groundwater treatment component of the remedy was initiated in spring 2017 and it is anticipated that the site-wide groundwater remedy will begin operation in 2018.

Impoundments 1 & 2: Due to the unique and highly complex nature of the contaminants within impoundments 1 and 2 and their proximity to the Raritan River, these two impoundments were not included in the site-wide remedy. The remedy for these two impoundments presented in a September 2018 Record of Decision includes the excavation and destruction of acid tar waste[AM1]  contained within the impoundments, the solidification/stabilization of any materials found to have been impacted by the acid tar waste[AM2] , and the placement of a protective cover over the entire area addressed. The remedial design of the 2018 Decision will begin in early 2019.
Impoundments 15 and 16: The excavation and off-site recycling of 81,000 cubic yards of iron oxide material within impoundments 15 and 16 was completed in February 2015. Soils underlying these impoundments and the re-vegetation of the area will be addressed as part of the site-wide remedy.

Removal Action: Pfizer observed seeps along the site banks of the Raritan River in Fall 2010, which were determined to contain up to 20,000 parts per billion (ppb) of benzene. A groundwater removal system was constructed including a collection trench, a containment wall and an interim groundwater treatment system. This system was completed in May 2012 and is currently operating <

Top of Page

Activity and Use Limitations

At this site, activity and use limitations that EPA calls institutional controls are in place. Institutional controls play an important role in site remedies because they reduce exposure to contamination by limiting land or resource use. They also guide human behavior. For instance, zoning restrictions prevent land uses – such as residential uses – that are not consistent with the level of cleanup.

For more background, see Institutional Controls.

For a 140-acre portion of the site referred to as the Hill Property, which was deleted from the National Priorities List in 1998, an institutional control known as a groundwater classification exception area/well restriction area (CEA/WRA) was established by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to prevent exposure to underlying groundwater exposure.  A CEA is established by NJDEP to provide notice that groundwater contamination exists within a localized area, while a WRA restricts the potable use of wells within the area.

The implementation of institutional controls is also required as part of the site-wide remedy, which is currently in the design phase, to ensure the protectiveness of the remedy and its compatibility with future reuse. The following institutional controls will be implemented under the site-wide remedy: deed restrictions, restrictive covenants and the establishment of a groundwater classification exception area/well restriction area. A site-wide classification exception area/well restriction area is currently being developed by Wyeth with the State of New Jersey to restrict potable use of groundwater until it has been restored.

While contaminated impoundments and soils remain present at the site, the site is fenced and patrolled by security to restrict access and prevent potential exposures to contaminated materials. The surrounding communities receive potable water from sources that are not hydraulically connected to contaminated site groundwater.

Top of Page