WOOLWICH TOWNSHIP, NJ
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Located on Route 322 in Woolwich, New Jersey, a truck terminal operated at the site from 1962 to 2001. Previous activities at the 70-acre facility included the cleanup of trucks and tankers used for transporting a variety of materials including flammable and corrosive liquids. The polluted cleaning solution was disposed of in an unlined lagoon behind the terminal building from 1962 until 1976, when Matlack Inc. began transporting the wastewater away from the site for disposal. The lagoon was subsequently filled with demolition debris and other material. Matlack discontinued tanker cleaning operations in November 1997, but continued to service and store vehicles at the site until 2001, when it filed for bankruptcy.Following investigations, EPA placed the site on the Superfund program’s National Priorities List in May 2013.
What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?
Previous Investigations at the site
The NJDEP began investigating potential groundwater contamination at the site in December 1982 in response to possible potable water well contamination in the area surrounding the facility. Investigations included sampling of groundwater, soil, surface water and sediment associated with identified areas of concern.
In May 1987, NJDEP and Matlack, Inc. entered into an Administrative Consent Order (ACO). Between 1990 and 2001, Matlack Inc. conducted several remedial/removal actions to address source areas identified from previous investigations. Among the actions taken were a groundwater treatment system that consisted of extraction wells, an infiltration trench and aeration system, which was (1995-1997 and 2006-2011), the removal of aboveground and underground storage tanks used for waste and petroleum, and the excavation and off-site disposal of contaminated soil.
EPA began investigation activities in 2012 and the site was listed on the National Priorities List in 2013.
Remedial Investigation (RI) activities were conducted in three phases: Phase 1 was conducted during July 2015, Phase 2 was conducted during March, April, and May 2016, and Phase 3 was conducted during July and August 2016. RI activities involved sampling surface water, seeps, sediment, soil, and existing and newly installed groundwater monitoring wells to further characterize the former waste disposal (lagoon) area and the extent of both the petroleum hydrocarbon and 4-chloroanaline plume (identified as the Area 1 plume) and the chlorinated volatile organic compound plume (identified as the Area 2 plume) identified at the site.
In surface soil samples collected (depth of 0-2 ft.), there were no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) detected at concentrations above New Jersey Residential Direct Contact Soil Remediation Standards (NJRDCSRS). Semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) PCBs were identified at concentrations slightly above the NJRDCSRS at isolated locations within the former lagoon area.
The results of subsurface soil sampling (depth greater than 2 ft.) indicated that the SVOCs benzyl butyl phthalate, bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate and napthalene were present in subsurface soil at concentrations above New Jersey Impact to Groundwater Soil Cleanup Criteria (IGWSCC) during 2016 sampling.
The VOCs benzene, tetrachloroethene (PCE), trichloroethylene (TCE), and total xylenes were identified during 2014 sampling at two locations at concentrations above IGWSCC. The SVOCs benzyl butyl phthalate, bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, di-n-octylphthalate and naphthalene were also identified at concentrations above IGWSCC during 2014 at the same two locations.
As noted, groundwater sampling indicates two distinct plumes: one plume of PHC-related aromatic VOCs (e.g., benzene) and the SVOC 4-chloroaniline; the other plume consists of CVOCs. The highest concentration of CVOCs was 1,800 micrograms per liter (ug/l) and for aromatic compounds was 1,347 ug/l.
The results for surface water and sediment sampling indicated tetrachloroethylene (PCE) and trichloroethylene (TCE) were present in seep and sediment samples above New Jersey Surface Water Quality Criteria and New Jersey Sediment Quality Criteria, respectively.
Record of Decision
A Record of Decision (ROD) selecting a remedy to address contamination at the site was signed for in September 2017. Key components of the Selected Remedy include:
- Installation of two permeable reactive barriers (PRBs) to provide passive treatment of aromatic and chlorinated volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and the semi-volatile organic compound (SVOC) 4-chloroanaline in groundwater;
- Excavation and off-site disposal of contaminated soil and sediment which acts as a source of further contamination to groundwater, seep water, surface water and sediment;
- Long-term monitoring to assure the effectiveness of the remedy over time; and
- Institutional controls until remedial action objectives (RAOs) are met, which may include establishment of a New Jersey Ground Water Classification Exception Area that restricts the use of the contaminated aquifer, along with deed notices that restrict development of the affected areas until the RAOs are met.
By remediating the groundwater and removing ongoing sources of contamination, the remedy also addresses contamination resulting from the discharge of groundwater to seeps, which has impacted seep water, surface water and sediment. In addition, by remediating the groundwater, potential future risks associated with inhalation of indoor air through vapor intrusion if a building or structure were to be built over the contaminated plumes will be addressed.
What Is the Current Site Status?
EPA is currently completing the design of the remedy selected in the 2017 ROD to address contamination at the site. It is expected that cleanup activities will be initiated in 2020.