FAIR LAWN WELL FIELD
FAIR LAWN, NJ
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The Fair Lawn Well Field Superfund Site (Site) includes the groundwater that impacts four municipal wells located on or around Westmoreland Avenue in the Borough of Fair Lawn, Bergen County, New Jersey. These wells are part of the Westmoreland Well Field (WMWF) which was established by the Borough between 1948 and 1950. Two of the four wells (FL-10 and FL-14) were at one time used to provide treated drinking water to the residents of the Borough of Fair Lawn. These two wells are now out of service for that purpose and treated water is discharged to Henderson Brook. The other two wells (FL-11 and FL-12) are used for monitoring.
The Site encompasses the contaminated groundwater underlying the commercial properties outside the source areas located in the Fair Lawn Industrial Park to the northeast of Route 208, and a residential neighborhood (and the WMWF) located to the southwest of Route 208. Within the site boundary is Henderson Brook which is impacted by the groundwater contamination and flows west along the southern property line of several source area properties, and southwest on the south side of Route 208 near the WMWF until it reaches the Passaic River. The Passaic River is located approximately one mile to the southwest of the Site.
In 1978, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) primarily tetrachloroethylene (PCE) and trichloroethylene (TCE) were detected in the WMWF. To determine the origin of the contamination, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) investigated all industrial and commercial facilities within a 3,000-foot radius of the contaminated municipal wells. The investigation concluded that the primary source of the contamination is within the Fair Lawn Industrial Park. Based on the investigation findings, facilities owned and operated by Fisher and Sandvik in the industrial park were identified as contributing sources to the groundwater contamination. The Site was placed on the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) in September 1983.
EPA sent notice letters to Fisher and Sandvik in February 1984, advising them of their potential liability at the Site. In March 1984, both Fisher and Sandvik signed Administrative Consent Orders (ACOs) with the NJDEP to conduct investigations of soil and groundwater on their properties, remove and dispose of contaminated soils, perform long-term groundwater quality monitoring, and pay the Borough for the installation, and operation and maintenance treatment system at the WMWF. In 1986, the Borough installed the air stripper and chlorination system to treat the contaminated wells located at the WMWF.
What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?
EPA became the lead agency for the groundwater portion of the Site in September 1992, and initiated a remedial investigation and feasibility study (RI/FS) to determine the nature and extent of groundwater contamination. NJDEP will continue to be the lead for the response actions at the source area properties while the EPA remedy will address the contaminated groundwater captured by the WMWF, as well as surface water impacted by groundwater.
Under NJDEP authority, Fisher proposed and implemented a bedrock and overburden groundwater recovery and treatment system (GRTS) to capture the contaminated groundwater plume at its facility; Sandvik removed and disposed of approximately 1,100 cubic yards of soil, 200 buried containers, and a 4,000-gallon waste oil tank, and implemented an in-situ groundwater bioremediation program to address these contaminated areas; Kodak removed a total of 3,160 tons of impacted soils and material associated with the building demolition, and 2,540 feet of subsurface piping associated with the sumps and catch basins; and the 18-01 Pollitt Drive owners excavated approximately 11,000 tons of PCE-impacted soils located inside the on-site building to a depth of 20 feet below ground surface (bgs)and approximately 4,301 tons of PCE impacted soil located outside the building to a depth of 24 feet (bgs).
In May and June 1995, EPA and the Fair Lawn Health and Water Departments conducted a residential well sampling and analysis program to determine the usage and quality of private well water. The results of this program found these wells were being used for both irrigation and drinking water purposes, and the data results indicated they met the established drinking water standards.
In April 1999, EPA entered into an interagency agreement with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) to conduct an area-wide groundwater study of the Fair Lawn area. This groundwater study included development of a flow model used to define areas of influence or capture zones from all existing pumping wells to further determine sources of contamination found at the WMWF, to determine if Henderson Brook is a groundwater discharge area and to recommend any further actions. A groundwater study report submitted by the USGS in May 2005 presented and discussed those areas where contaminated groundwater contributes to the WMWF.
In March 2006, EPA issued notice letters to Fisher, Sandvik and Eastman Kodak Company (Kodak), requesting them to perform an RI/FS at the Site. On March 28, 2008, Fisher, Sandvik and Kodak, collectively known as the potentially responsible parties (PRPs), entered into a Settlement Agreement and Administrative Order on Consent (Settlement Agreement) with EPA to conduct the RI/FS.
The PRPs RI/FS workplan was approved by EPA in January 2009. The workplan was made available to the public at information sessions conducted by the EPA on March 16 and 17, 2009.
In September 2009, the PRPs began installing five new monitoring wells, which were completed in December 2009. Two groundwater and surface water sampling events were conducted in March 2010 and June 2011. EPA held a public availability session in Fair Lawn in October 2012 to update the community on the progress of the RI/FS activities. Between April and July 2013, the PRPs conducted a shutdown test. This test consisted of turning off and on existing individual pumping wells to determine the groundwater horizontal and vertical flow and extent of influence from these wells. This information is summarized in a Final Site Characterization Summary Report (SCR) approved by EPA in August 2015.
Kodak filed for bankruptcy in January 2012, and subsequently notified EPA that it would no longer perform the RI/FS under the Settlement Agreement. Fisher and Sandvik continued to perform the RI/FS.
At the request of EPA, the PRPs submitted a draft RI/FS work plan addendum for additional well installation and sampling in September 2013. The approved December 2013 RI/FS work plan addendum included the installation of five overburden and seven bedrock monitoring wells, and two rounds of comprehensive groundwater and surface monitoring. From May to July 2014, prior to installing the monitoring wells, thirteen temporary overburden monitoring wells were installed and sampled to delineate shallow groundwater at the Site. The monitoring wells were installed between July and September 2014, and two comprehensive groundwater sampling events were performed in November 2015 and June 2016. The Final PRPs RI/FS was approved by EPA in June and July 2018.
The preferred remedy to address the groundwater contamination was documented by EPA in a proposed plan made available for public comment between August 6 and September 5, 2018. A public meeting was conducted by EPA on August 23, 2018. After reviewing all of the comments received during the public comment period, a Record of Decision documenting the selected remedy was signed by EPA on September 27, 2018.
Two rounds of vapor intrusion (VI) sampling from select residential and commercial properties were conducted by the PRPs in March 2009 and April 2010. Additional VI sampling activities were also conducted by the EPA at the Westmoreland Elementary School and select residential properties between August and December 2013. During the winter of 2014 and 2015, the PRPs continued the residential VI sampling activities. The results of these samples found that these properties are not at risk for potential contaminated vapors entering their indoor space(s). No additional VI sampling is scheduled. However, if new information becomes available during the remedial design and remedial action phase, EPA will evaluate this new information and the VI investigation approach.
What Is the Current Site Status?
The site is being addressed in two stages: The immediate action of wellhead treatment to address the WMWF well contamination while the long-term remedial action will focus on the groundwater cleanup and control of the potential sources of contamination. Currently, treated groundwater is discharged to Henderson Brook. These actions have reduced the potential for exposure to contaminated groundwater at the site while investigations were being completed.
The Borough of Fair Lawn implemented an air stripper and chlorination system to treat the contaminated wells. The PRPs later reimbursed the Borough for the installation of the treatment system and provided funding for operation and maintenance activities.
Long Term Actions:
Source Areas: Under the 1984 NJDEP AOC, Fisher and Sandvik have conducted remedial investigations and actions on their properties. Fisher operates a groundwater recovery and treatment system since 1987, and Sandvik has been conducting an enhanced bioremediation program since February 2014. Additional source area properties identified as Eastman Kodak Company and 18-01 Pollitt Drive have conducted investigations and soil removal activities. The owners of 18-01 Pollitt Drive initiated an in-situ bioremediation program in 2014, and a pump and treat system has been operational in February 2017. These companies will continue to perform these remedial activities under NJDEP authority.
Groundwater: Under the 2008 EPA Settlement Agreement, the PRPS completed RI/FS activities that included the installation of nine overburden and twelve bedrock monitoring wells, thirteen temporary monitoring wells, and four comprehensive groundwater and surface water sampling events between 2010 and 2016. In addition, the PRPs conducted a shutdown test of individual pumping wells to determine groundwater flow direction and extent of influence at the site. The RI/FS field activities were completed in 2016 and a Final RI/FS Report was approved in 2018.