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From the mid-1800s until 1977, John Lucas & Company and eventually the Sherwin-Williams Company operated a paint manufacturing facility in Gibbsboro, New Jersey. Historic features previously located on-Sherwin-Williams property included several of the manufacturing facility’s wastewater and paint sludge settling lagoons, several tank farms, open drum storage areas, and a rail road line and rail spur. Decades of direct discharge of materials to Hilliards Creek from lagoons, improper storage and handling and leaking tanks led to widespread soil, sediment, surface water and groundwater contamination. Hilliards Creek, which originates within the former manufacturing facility, is contaminated with lead and arsenic and flows for over one mile, where it discharges into Kirkwood Lake, Voorhees, New Jersey. Hilliards Creek and Kirkwood Lake sediments are contaminated with lead and arsenic. Waste disposal activities associated with the Sherwin-Williams manufacturing facility resulted in dumping of wastes at two additional locations separate from the manufacturing facility.
Waste handling practices at the manufacturing facility and two other sites adversely affected the environment. In response to these environmental impacts, EPA required investigations to determine the nature and extent of contaminants at each of the three sites. The Sherwin-Williams/Hilliards Creek Superfund Site, which includes the former manufacturing facility, is one of three sites commonly referred to as the “Sherwin-Williams sites”, located in portions of Gibbsboro and Voorhees, New Jersey. The other two sites are the Route 561 Dump Site (“Dump Site”) and the U.S. Avenue Burn Superfund Site (“Burn Site”), both located in Gibbsboro, New Jersey. Site investigations determined that a number of residential properties in the area contained contaminants related to the sites. EPA’s decision to prioritize and address contamination on residential properties was documented in its first Record of Decision for the sites in 2015. This Record of Decision addressed contaminated shallow soils on residential properties contaminated by sediment from adjoining waterbodies or properties received contaminated fill. EPA’s decisions to remediate the Dump Site and the Burn Site, as source areas, were documented in Record of Decisions 2016 and 2017 respectively. Additional information documenting EPA’s decision to remediate the Dump Site and Burn Site can be found by selecting the site links on this webpage. The remainder of this webpage is dedicated to the discussion of the Sherwin-Williams/Hilliards Creek Superfund Site.
The Sherwin-Williams/Hilliards Creek Superfund Site (site) was added to the National Priorities List (NPL) in 2008. The site consists of the Former Manufacturing Plant (FMP) area, which was the location of a large-scale paint, varnish and lacquer manufacturing plant, Hilliards Creek, portions of Silver Lake and Kirkwood Lake. The FMP area is currently owned by Brandywine Realty Trust and is called the Paint Works Corporate Center, and presently houses a combination of structures utilized for office and warehouse space.
What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?
A number of environmental response actions occurred prior to the Sherwin-Williams/Hilliards Creek Superfund site being listed to the National Priorities List in 2008. Several actions were performed by Sherwin-Williams under the authority and oversight of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP). These actions included the removal of 8,100 cubic yards of sludge material from the former lagoons when Sherwin-Williams ceased operations at the plant in 1978; removal of approximately 66 tons of soil and 14,000 gallons of water and oil mixture from the rear of the 5 Foster Avenue structure; and installation and temporary operation of a soil vapor extraction (SVE) system and free product recovery (FPR) system. The SVE system was designed to collect vapors from the area surrounding the 1 Foster avenue structure. The FPR system utilized a combination of automated and passive skimmers, in areas with the greatest free-product thickness. From 1998 until 2010, when the operation of the SVE and FPR systems were terminated, a total of approximately 138,100 gallons of product/water mixture was recovered. Since 2010 to present time, approximately 3,000 gallons of product have been recovered by manual pumping.
NJDEP terminated its Order with Sherwin-Williams in 2001. EPA initiated its regulatory authority in 2002, after a reported discharge of product to Hilliards Creek. EPA directed Sherwin-Williams to install an interceptor trench adjacent to Hilliards Creek, to prevent further discharges of product to Hilliards Creek. This work was completed by Sherwin-Williams in 2003. In 2003, Sherwin-Williams also performed the removal of the former pump house, which transferred wastes from the plant to the former lagoon area. This work was also overseen by EPA.
Beginning in 2005. Sherwin-Williams, with EPA oversight, performed soil, sediment, and surface water sampling of Hilliards Creek. The soil, sediment and surface water sampling was later expanded to Kirkwood Lake, as it was determined that contamination had extended beyond Hilliards Creek. Residential properties, adjacent to the Hilliards Creek and Kirkwood Lake floodplain were sampled as well.
With the placement of the site on the National Priorities List in 2008, EPA directed Sherwin-Williams to perform comprehensive remedial investigation (RI) sampling activities of the former manufacturing plant area. Sampling activities included periodic vapor intrusion (soil gas) sampling beneath the commercial and adjacent residential structures known to have shallow groundwater contamination beneath them. Numerous monitoring wells were installed to characterize groundwater contamination.
A 2015 Record of Decision documented EPA’s decision to excavate and dispose shallow soil contamination from residential properties. Several residential properties were remediated in 2016. Excavation activities resumed on residential properties in 2018 and are anticipated to be completed in 2020. In addition, several interim measures were taken in 2016 and 2017 to address sub-slab soil gas and indoor-air concerns at several of the commercial structures located within the former manufacturing plant area.
What Is the Current Site Status?
Cleanup of residential properties associated with the site continue and is expected to be completed in 2020.
A remedial investigation of soil and sediment contamination at the former manufacturing plant has been completed. This investigation has defined the nature and extent of soil and sediment contamination associated with the former manufacturing plant area soil and sediment in Upper Hilliards Creek (from Foster Avenue to W. Clementon). A feasibility study is being conducted to identify alternatives that would remediate soil and sediment contaminants. After the Feasibility Study is completed, EPA will provide the public an opportunity to comment on a Proposed Plan that will identify EPA’s preferred alternative to address contaminated soil and sediment associated with the site. It is anticipated that this Proposed Plan will be provided to the public in 2019.
A remedial investigation is ongoing on Bridgewood Lake, Silver Lake, the middle and lower portions of Hilliards Creek, and Kirkwood Lake. The objective of this remedial investigation is to determine the extent of contamination of sediments in each of these waterbodies. It is anticipated that this investigation will be completed in 2019, and will be followed by a feasibility study which will identify alternatives to address contaminated sediment in the waterbodies. EPA anticipates that a proposed plan identifying the preferred alternative to remediate sediments will be provided to the public in 2020.
A remedial investigation is also ongoing on groundwater to determine the extent of groundwater contamination associated with the former manufacturing plant area. It is anticipated that the groundwater investigation will be completed in 2019.