Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

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The Montgomery Township Housing Development site is located in Somerset County, New Jersey.
Originally, 71 homes at the 72-acre area depended on private wells drawing water from the underlying aquifer. In 1978, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were detected in the public well of the neighboring municipality of Rocky Hill. Concerned that the contamination might have spread to groundwater beneath the housing development, state officials sampled the housing development's wells. Results indicated widespread contamination with various VOCs. Because of the proximity and the similarity of the contaminants present, EPA decided to address the site and the Rocky Hill Municipal Well Superfund site jointly. The site’s long-term remedy has been put in place. Groundwater treatment and monitoring are ongoing.

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What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?

Emergency Actions: In 1981, Montgomery Township connected 20 homes in the development to the Elizabethtown Water Company's waterline. A total of 38 residences were connected to the public water supply before the alternate water supply remedy described below was put in place.

Alternate Water Supply: Following a remedial investigation and feasibility study to determine the nature and extent of site contamination and to evaluate remedial alternatives, EPA selected a remedy for supplying clean water to the housing development in 1987. This remedy, which involved a continuation of the site’s emergency actions, was put in place between 1988 and 1990. The Elizabethtown Water Company distribution system was extended to residences using water from contaminated or threatened wells. Sealing of 43 of the residential wells finished in 2005.

Groundwater: EPA selected a remedy for cleaning up the contaminated groundwater plume in 1988. The cleanup covers the housing development areas and the Rocky Hill Municipal Well site. The remedy includes: (1) extracting contaminated groundwater from the primary plume area; (2) treating the groundwater to state and federal cleanup standards using carbon; (3) discharging treated water to surface water; (4) connecting additional residences to the public water supply, as needed; (5) sealing private wells within the contaminant plume; and (6) implementing a groundwater sampling program to monitor the effectiveness of the cleanup.

EPA conducted a five-year review at the site in 2010. These reviews ensure that the remedies put in place protect public health and the environment, and function as intended by site decision documents. The review concluded that response actions at the site are in accordance with the remedy selected by EPA and that the remedy continues to be protective of human health and the environment in the short term. For the remedy to be protective in the long term, the five-year review indicated the need for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to establish a Groundwater Classification Exception Area (CEA).

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What Is the Current Site Status?

The site has been addressed in three phases: emergency actions and two long-term remedial phases focused on the provision of an alternate water supply and groundwater cleanup.

In 1981, the Township of Montgomery connected 20 homes in the development to the Elizabethtown Water Company's waterline.

Construction of two groundwater treatment plants was completed in January 2005.

Following additional field investigations and negotiations with the site’s potentially responsible parties, the site’s groundwater treatment system began operating in January 2005. Quarterly groundwater monitoring is ongoing.

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