Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

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The Bridgeport Rental and Oil Services (BROS) site is a 30-acre property in Logan Township, New Jersey, one mile east of Bridgeport and two miles south of the Delaware River. The site was the location of a waste oil storage and recovery facility from 1960 to 1981. The area included a 13-acre waste lagoon and a tank farm with approximately 100 tanks and process vessels. Initial estimates indicated that the lagoon contained about 2.5 million gallons of oil contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), 80,000 cubic yards of PCB-contaminated sediments and sludge, and 70 million gallons of contaminated wastewater. The waste lagoon breached its dike in the early 1970s, causing widespread damage to nearby wetlands. Groundwater was contaminated by leakage and releases from the waste lagoon. The site’s long-term cleanup is ongoing.

The property originally housed a tank farm, consisting of approximately 100 tanks and process vessels, drums, tank trucks, and a 13-acre waste oil and wastewater lagoon. Initial estimates indicated that the lagoon contained about 2.5 million gallons of oil contaminated with PCBs, 80,000 cubic yards of PCB-contaminated sediments and sludge, and 70 million gallons of contaminated wastewater. Groundwater underlying the site and extending about 6,000 feet from the lagoon has been contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The storage tanks contained sludge and sediment material similar to that in the lagoon. The area surrounding the site is primarily rural and agricultural. Little Timber Creek Swamp lies to the east and leads to Little Timber Creek, a tributary of the Delaware River. Cedar Swamp lies across Route 130 north of the site, and collects drainage from the site via Little Timber Creek. The lagoon repeatedly threatened to breach its dike, and did so once in the early 1970s, causing widespread vegetative damage to about three acres of the adjacent wetland. Approximately ten acres of the wetland were impacted significantly enough to require active remediation. The aquifer underlying the site is used for drinking water purposes in the Bridgeport area. The groundwater in the uppermost aquifer flows radially away from the site and includes a northerly flow component toward the Delaware River. At greater depths, the groundwater flows to the southeast. Domestic water supply wells historically existed to the north, northwest, and west of the site; ten are within 50 to 1,000 feet of the site. These wells have been replaced over the years by a public water supply. 

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What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?

Between 1987 and 1988, 100 tanks, many of which still contained hazardous wastes, were demolished and removed. More than 350,000 gallons of oils and sludges contaminated with PCBs and about one million gallons of liquids were removed from the tanks and taken to EPA-approved disposal facilities, as was debris from the buildings, tanks, vessels, drums and subsurface pipelines. In addition, the on-site treatment system treated about 21 million gallons of lagoon wastewater.

Incineration of lagoon wastes (oil, sediment and sludges) and area soils began in 1991. As cleanup activities proceeded, significantly greater quantities of material were encountered at the site, including drums, debris and sediments/sludges.  More than 5,000 tons of drummed waste and debris were removed from the lagoon and shipped for off-site disposal, while 10,000 tons were incinerated on site. The on-site treatment system treated nearly 200 million gallons of lagoon wastewater and discharged it to Little Timber Creek. Operation of the on-site incinerator ceased in January 1996, upon completion of the lagoon cleanup effort. In total, it processed about 172,000 tons of contaminated materials.

In 1998, EPA started a phase 2 remedial investigation and feasibility study (RI/FS) to determine the extent of contamination in the groundwater and adjacent wetlands. The phase 2 RI included the installation and sampling of 44 new groundwater monitoring wells. Data indicated that groundwater contamination had migrated about 300 feet north and 2,400 feet southeast of the site.  In spring 1993, EPA conducted additional sampling of monitoring wells and residential wells downgradient of the site, up to a distance of about 6,000 feet in some locations. No significant site-related contamination was detected at these more distant locations. This finding was confirmed during the resampling of these groundwater monitoring wells in 1999. Wetlands work evaluated over 300 acres within Little Timber Creek Swamp and Cedar Swamp. The results indicated that a portion of Little Timber Creek Swamp was contaminated and there was potential for contamination in Little Timber Creek.  The RI/FS led to a ROD in 2006 that called for a combination of conventional and innovative physical, chemical and biological treatment technologies to manage contaminated groundwater, light non-aqueous phase liquids (LNAPL), soils and sediments.  The remedy for the site includes distinct yet integrated remedial actions organized within the Groundwater and Wetlands categories.

LNAPL and on-site soil contamination are being treated with an innovative vacuum extraction technology known as bioslurping. Operation of the bioslurping system is adaptively managed, contingent on groundwater levels. Biosjurping activities were shutdown due to diminishing product recovery levels .

Deep groundwater remediation is being adaptively managed using in-place chemical, pumping and treatment, and biodegradation technologies. The wastewater treatment plant used during the lagoon cleanup effort was replaced by a new, more advanced groundwater treatment plant. The first deep groundwater contamination in-place treatment with chemical oxidant took place in spring 2012. A second dosing was completed in the principal threat zone in February 2013. Pumping of contaminated water from the principal threat zone began in August 2013. An additional measure to help protect public health involved the extension of public water lines to several residences just outside the boundary of the groundwater plume emanating from the site. A Classification Exception Area/Well Restriction Area designation is in place for the groundwater plume area, and deed restrictions are in place for the site property.

Wetland excavation activities were completed between 2009 and 2011. The next phase of the wetlands remedial action included a five-year vegetation restoration program. On-going restoration activities have been summarized in mitigation monitoring reports previously provided to EPA and NJDEP from 2013 through 2016, with the final permit-equivalency report submitted to NJDEP on December 8, 2017..  NJDEP has accepted the final report.  

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What Is the Current Site Status?

This site is being addressed through federal, State and private party actions and is being addressed in three stages: emergency actions and two long-term remedial actions focused on cleanup of the lagoon and tank farm area, and groundwater and wetlands remediation.
Emergency Actions: EPA actions taken when the waste oil lagoon threatened to overflow its dike included: (1) in 1981, the failing dike was reinforced, raising the height by about five feet; (2) in 1982, EPA pumped the lagoon level down by about two feet and treated the liquids removed; (3) affected homes were provided with filtration units for their well water; (4) in 1983, the lagoon level was lowered again by about two feet; (5) in early 1984, lagoon overflows were addressed by pumping down the water level by about 10 feet; (6) in late 1984, workers returned for cleanup and replacement when a failed oil boom spilled 50 gallons of PCB-contaminated oil; and (7) in 1990, drums containing contaminated materials were removed from a warehouse to an EPA-approved facility.

Lagoon, Tank Farm and Wells: EPA selected a remedy for the site’s lagoon, tank farm and potentially contaminated residential wells in its 1984 Record of Decision, or ROD specifying on-site incineration as the selected remedy for the sludge, sediment, soil, debris, and lagoon oil at the Bridgeport site.  The drinking water line was completed in 1987. It provided drinking water to 15 affected homes.  A second-phase remedial investigation to determine appropriate groundwater and wetland cleanup actions was also called for in the ROD.

Groundwater/Wetlands: In September 2006, EPA signed the site’s second and final ROD, selecting a remedy for contaminated soils, shallow and deep groundwater, and wetlands. The primary technology for cleanup of groundwater involves extraction and ex-situ treatment along with in-place chemical and biological treatment.  Groundwater remediation started in 2013 and is expected to operate for several years to address the contaminants of concern.  Light non-aqueous phase liquid and on-site soil contamination was treated with an innovative vacuum extraction technology known as bioslurping which operated from 2011-2018.  Contaminated sediments in the wetland were excavated and disposed of off-site.

Wetlands remedial action is being completed in a phased approach. The first two phases involved contaminated sediment excavation in two main areas designated as Little Timber Creek Wetland I and II.  Following excavation, a chemically retarding sorptive mat was placed below backfill and topsoil.  The next phase of the wetlands remedial action included a five-year vegetation and animal habitat restoration program, in accordance with permit equivalencies with theState of New Jersey.  The restortation activities has been completed and a five-year review of restoration work was approved by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

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