CORNELL DUBILIER ELECTRONICS INC.
SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ
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The Cornell-Dubilier Electronics, Inc. (CDE) site is located in South Plainfield, New Jersey and is comprised of a 26-acre property formerly owned by CDE, several adjacent residential, commercial and municipal properties, and the adjoining Bound Brook corridor. Between 1936 and 1962, the company operated a facility on the property and manufactured electronic components. Poor waste handling practices resulted in releases of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and chlorinated volatile organic compounds (VOCs), primarily trichloroethylene (TCE), which resulted in the contamination of soils, sediments and groundwater at the site. The site’s long-term cleanup is ongoing.
EPA used removal actions to address immediate threats to human health and the environment and is currently using multiple remedial phases to address long-term threats to human health and the environment.
EPA Removal Actions: In March 1997, after identifying PCB-contaminated areas at the former CDE property, EPA issued an administrative order to the current property owner to take the following actions: (1) limit access to areas of known PCB contamination; (2) take necessary actions to limit the movement of contaminants to the Bound Brook through surface water run-off; and (3) pave driveways and parking areas within the former CDE facility property lines. These actions were mostly completed in the fall of 1997, with some follow up actions in 1999-2000. In March-April 1998, EPA completed a removal action to clean the interiors of residential homes located near the former CDE property where PCBs were found indoors at levels of potential concern. Beginning in 1998, EPA directed several potentially responsible parties (PRPs) to remove and dispose of contaminated soil from fourteen residential properties located near the former CDE property, under several administrative orders. Removal activities required under the first two orders were completed by January 2000. Removal activities under a third order were completed in September 2004 by EPA, when one of the PRPs failed to perform the work.
For EPA’s long-term remedial responses, the site was divided into phases, or operable units (OUs), due to its complexity and size of the site. OU1 addressed properties in the vicinity of the former CDE property. OU2 addressed the remediation of the 26-acre former CDE property. OU3 and OU4 focus on the contaminated groundwater and contaminated sediments in the Bound Brook.
In September 2003, EPA selected a remedy for OU1 to address PCB-contaminated soils and interior dust at residential, commercial and municipal properties in the vicinity of the former CDE property. The remedy required the excavation, off-site transportation and disposal of PCB-contaminated soils, and property restoration. The OU1 remedy also called for interior dust cleaning at residential, commercial and municipal properties where PCBs were detected indoors. Using federal and state funds, EPA began remediating the first OU1 residential and non-residential properties in 2005; remediation of 34 properties was completed in 2014. OU1 residential and non-residential properties are generally located south and southwest of the former CDE facility property.
In September 2004, EPA selected a remedy for OU2 addressing the contamination at the former CDE property. The work began with the relocation of tenants, followed by the demolition of the former CDE facility structures, and the excavation of soils from a capacitor disposal area. In 2009, soil remediation commenced, which included: excavating, treating and/or disposing of contaminated soil from the former CDE property. Site restoration and paving activities, such as installing a multi-layered asphalt cap and constructing a storm water conveyance system and detention basin followed and were completed in September 2015.
In September 2012, EPA selected a remedy for OU3 to address the groundwater contamination at the site. The remedy included the placement of institutional controls for groundwater, and long-term monitoring of groundwater and potential vapor intrusion, and incorporated a waiver for the groundwater treatment due to technical impracticability. Under this OU, 52 properties have been sampled for vapor intrusion. All of the vapor sampling results were below EPA’s screening levels. The EPA also identified the potential for contaminated groundwater to discharge to surface water at levels that would pose an unacceptable risk within Bound Brook. Since a study was being conducted on the Bound Brook under OU4, EPA’s OU4 remedy included a decision on the contaminated groundwater discharging to the Bound Brook.
The final planned action, OU4, addresses contamination within the Bound Brook. The Bound Brook passes adjacent to the former CDE property and has been impacted by CDE's waste disposal practices. Soil has eroded from the former CDE property to the brook, and contaminated groundwater beneath the property discharges to the brook. To determine the nature and extent of contamination within the Bound Brook, a study was conducted on a 10-mile stretch of the Bound Brook starting as far east as the Talmadge Bridge, extending west past the confluence of the Bound Brook and Green Brook and ending approximately 1 mile downstream from Green Brook. The investigation included sampling sediment, flood plain soils, and groundwater within the Bound Brook corridor, and included sampling of surface water and biota (fish and clams).
In May of 2015, EPA selected a remedy for OU4. The OU4 remedy consists of four phases. OU4, Phase 1 involves the excavation and off-site disposal of a capacitor debris area along the eastern bank of the Bound Brook that is adjacent to the former CDE property which has been contributing contamination to the Bound Brook sediments. OU4, Phase 2 addresses the relocation of a 36-inch waterline that transects the former CDE property. OU4, Phase 3 addresses contaminated groundwater that is currently being released into the Bound Brook from the former CDE property. The OU4, phase 3 remedy calls for the capture and treatment of groundwater along the boundary of the former CDE property and the Bound Brook, to prevent the release of groundwater contaminants to surface water. OU4, Phase 4 consists of excavation and removal of contaminated sediment and floodplain soils along a three-mile stretch of the Bound Brook including dredging of New Market Pond.
What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?
The initial emergency responses (constructing a fence to limit access to the former CDE property, controlling surface water run-off, and paving driveways and parking areas within the former CDE property) reduced the potential for exposure to off-site migration of hazardous substances while site studies were performed. Since they were installed in 1997, these site control features have been maintained and upgraded by the current property owner, under EPA's direction and oversight.EPA has completed remedial actions associated with both OU1 (residential and non-residential properties) and OU2 (the former CDE facility property). The groundwater monitoring (OU3) is being implemented over an area of approximately 825 acres; vapor intrusion sampling is also being conducted ensuring no exposures occur in the community. The remedial designs for the Bound Brook (OU4 – phases 1, 2 and 3) were completed in September 2018. OU4 phase 4, the removal of contaminated sediments from the Bound Brook and its flood plain soils, is in the planning stage.
What Is the Current Site Status?
All short-term removal actions have been completed and no further removal activities are planned. The long-term remedial actions associated with OU1 and OU2 have been completed. The long-term remedial actions associated with OU3, specifically groundwater and vapor intrusion monitoring, continue to be implemented. For the OU4 remedy, remedial designs have been completed for three (capacitor debris area, waterline relocation and groundwater capture) out of the four phases with the remaining phase, sediment removal from the Bound Brook and soil removal from the Bound Brook flood plain, to follow. Remedial actions for the groundwater capture system is planned for 2019, with the capacitor debris area and waterline relocation planned for 2020.