Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

Superfund Site:

REICH FARMS
PLEASANT PLAINS, NJ

Cleanup Activities

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Background

The Reich Farm Superfund site is located in Dover Township, New Jersey. The 3-acre area was leased in the 1970s to an independent waste hauler. In 1971, the waste hauler disposed of drums containing organic solvents and residues from the manufacturing of organic chemicals, plastics and resins. In 1972, Union Carbine, a potentially responsible party (PRP), removed drums, trench waste and contaminated soil. Contaminated soil also contaminated the groundwater with organic compounds above state and federal standards. In response, NJDEP closed private wells in the area. Zoning ordinances were put in place to prevent private use of the groundwater. Following initial actions to protect human health and the environment, long-term groundwater cleanup and monitoring are ongoing. Under current conditions at the site, potential or actual human exposures are under control.

 

The Reich Farm property  is currently owned by Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Reich. The legal description of the site property is Block 410, Lot 22, on the Dover Township tax map. According to the Reichs, in August of 1971, they rented part of their land to Mr. Nicholas Fernicola for temporary storage of used 55-gallon drums. That December, the Reichs discovered about 4,500 drums containing wastes and 450 empty drums on the area rented to Mr. Fernicola. The labels on the drums included "tar pitch," "lab waste solvent," "blend of resin and oil," and "solvent wash of process stream." Most of the drums had Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) markings on them. Trenches into which wastes may have been dumped were also found. These disposal activities resulted in contamination of site soils and groundwater.

Mr. and Mrs. Reich, as well as Dover Township, filed complaints in New Jersey Superior Court against Mr. Fernicola and the Union Carbide Corporation, which resulted in the court ordering dumping to cease and the removal of all waste and drums. Union Carbide completed a drum removal in 1972. In June 1974, another 51 drums and about 1,100 cubic yards of contaminated soil and trenched wastes were removed from the site. The soil was excavated based on visual inspection and odor.


Early in 1974, some residents near the site observed an unusual taste and odor in their well water. Analyses of this water showed the presence of petrochemical contaminants, including phenol and toluene. More extensive sampling followed. Based on the results of this sampling, the Dover Township Board of Health ordered 148 private wells closed by the end of August 1974, and established a zoning ordinance restricting groundwater use near the site.

In April 1977, Union Carbide signed a Consent Order with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) for the state to lead additional investigations at the site. In June 1977, NJDEP dropped charges against Nicholas Fernicola in return for Mr. Fernicola's agreement to cease hauling and disposing of chemical wastes. Reich Farm was one of 418 sites placed on EPA’s proposed National Priorities List in December 1982. EPA finalized the site on the National Priorities List in September 1983.

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What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?

Initial Actions: In 1972, 5,095 drums and trench wastes were removed from the site. In 1974, PRP Union Carbide removed about 50 drums and 1,100 cubic yards of contaminated soil. Also in 1974, the Dover Township Board of Health ordered the closure of 148 private wells near the site. A zoning ordinance restricted groundwater use in the area. Residences near the site are connected to a permanent alternate water supply.

Long-term Cleanup: The remedies selected by EPA to clean up the site include: (1) installation of extraction wells; (2) treatment of extracted groundwater by air stripping and carbon adsorption; (3) reinjection of the treated groundwater into the ground; (4) excavation of contaminated soil and treatment in an enhanced volatilization unit; (5) backfilling the excavated area with the treated soils; and (6) excavation and off-site treatment of soils unable to be treated by the enhanced volatilization unit.

The PRP  has treated contaminated soils to meet the soil cleanup goals. The remedial action for site soils was finished in May 1995. EPA updated the site’s groundwater remedy in September 1995 to allow continued pumping and treating of groundwater at an existing well field to protect uncontaminated wells. After detecting the SAN Trimer, Union Carbide agreed to further treat the water using a carbon adsorption unit. In March 1998, EPA updated the site’s remedy again, requiring the carbon adsorption unit to be added to contaminated municipal wells.  The treated well water is not currently being used as a source of potable water. 

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What Is the Current Site Status?

The site is being addressed in two stages: initial actions and a long-term remedial phase focused on the cleanup of the entire site.

After treating over 15,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil, the potentially responsible party completed EPA's selected remedy to address soil contamination at the site. Completion of the soil clean-up eliminated contaminated soil as a source of ground-water contamination. In June 1997, four activated carbon units were added to the existing groundwater treatment system to remove a group of previously unidentified compounds (deemed SAN Trimer), which were emanating from the site.

In 2000, the National Toxicological Program began a study on SAN Trimer to determine if the compound was an animal carcinogen. A peer review of the study was completed in January 2011 and a final report was released in 2012. Based largely on those results, EPA’s National Center for Environmental Assessment developed oral toxicity values that could be used to develop cleanup levels for both soil and groundwater. Using the toxicity values, EPA’s risk assessor developed site-specific soil and groundwater cleanup goals for the SAN Trimer. Following initial actions to protect human health and the environment, long-term groundwater cleanup and monitoring are ongoing. Under current conditions at the site, potential or actual human exposures are under control.

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