Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

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The Riverside Industrial Park Superfund site includes both current and former manufacturing and packaging facilities, some of which are vacant, at 29 Riverside Avenue in Newark, New Jersey. The 7.6-acre site is located in a mixed residential and commercial/industrial area. From 1902 to 1971, the property was used for paint, resins, linseed oil, and varnish manufacturing by Patton Paint Company, which merged into the Paint and Varnish Division of Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company in 1920. Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company changed its name to PPG Industries, Inc. (PPG) in 1968. Metal pigments, including lead, were brought to the site for manufacturing of paints. From 1971 to the present day, the site is subdivided into fifteen lots. The property has been used by many companies for a variety of businesses from chemical packaging to chemical and cosmetics manufacturing. Although this is currently an active industrial park, there are several abandoned portions of the property which are owned by the City of Newark through foreclosures.

In October 2009, EPA and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) responded to a reported oil spill into the Passaic River near the site. The spill was coming from a pipe on the property and the source was later traced to two basement storage tanks in a vacant building on the site. After investigating the discharge point and source, EPA initiated an emergency removal action to stop the discharge and secure the source. Further investigation of that immediate area within the site led to the discovery of multiple potentially immediate threats including:
-    several abandoned 12,000- to 15,000-gallon underground storage tanks containing hazardous wastes in a tank farm adjacent to the vacant building,
-    approximately one hundred 3,000- to 10,000-gallon above-ground storage tanks with a number of 55-gallon drums,
-    smaller containers in two buildings on-site, and
-    hazardous liquid and sludge in two basement vaults of one of the vacant buildings.

From 2009 through 2014, EPA’s short-term cleanup program conducted several quick cleanup activities to eliminate the immediate threats identified as a result of the investigation of the oil spill into the Passaic River. After taking immediate action to protect human health and the environment and performing site investigations, EPA proposed the site to the National Priorities List in September 2012.  Riverside Industrial Park was added to the National Priorities List in May 2013. In May 2014, EPA entered into a legal agreement with PPG, one of the 18 Potentially Responsible Parties identified at the site, to perform a Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS). In 2017, EPA approved a Work Plan prepared by PPG for the RI/FS.  PPG performed site-wide remedial investigation (RI) field work with EPA oversight between 2017 and 2019.  During this time, EPA also conducted an additional emergency response action to remove debris, asbestos, and biohazard labeled medical waste illegally disposed on-site. In April 2020, EPA approved the RI Report documenting the nature and extent of contamination at the site.  EPA approved the FS Report in July 2020, which lists preliminary remedial goals for contaminants in the soil and groundwater along with possible remedial alternatives.  In July 2020, EPA issued the Proposed Plan with preferred remedial alternative to address soil, vapor intrusion, and groundwater contamination at the site along with on-site waste removal and cleaning and closing an inactive sewer line.


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What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?

Immediate Actions: In 2009, a spill of oily material into the Passaic River was reported and traced back to a pipe on the property. EPA investigated and discovered that chemicals, including benzene, mercury, chromium, and arsenic, were improperly stored at the site. In assessing the areas of the site adjacent to the discharge source, EPA discovered multiple potentially immediate threats to human health and the environment, including numerous storage tanks, both above and below ground, containing a variety of hazardous industrial wastes and solvents. Two underground tanks and most of the other containers were removed by EPA in 2012. The two basement vaults were emptied of the hazardous liquid and sludge in 2014.  Additional action was taken in 2017 to remove debris, asbestos, and biohazard labeled medical waste illegally disposed near Buildings #7 and #12.

Long-term Cleanup: Sampling during those initial investigations revealed that soil, groundwater, and storage tanks at the site are contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), metals, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Certain VOCs are probable human carcinogens and PCBs are potential cancer-causing chemicals that persist in the environment and can affect the immune, reproductive, nervous, and endocrine systems of people and animals.

Following the RI, EPA determined that the soil and groundwater at Riverside were contaminated at levels that may cause potential risk to human health and the ecosystem either under current, foreseeable future, and hypothetical future land use scenarios in the absence of additional controls or remedial actions. Soil and groundwater contamination may also present unacceptable risk to future indoor workers from vapor intrusion into future buildings that may be constructed at Riverside. Relative to NJDEP’s non-residential soil standards, EPA identified the following chemicals of potential concern (COPCs) in soil: metals, PCBs, VOCs, and SVOCs. Relative to NJDEP’s groundwater standards, EPA also identified the following chemicals of potential concern (COPCs) in groundwater: metals, VOCs, and SVOCs. Surface soil also contained elevated concentrations of VOCs, SVOCs, PCBs, metals, and dioxins that could pose unacceptable risks to wildlife. PPG also identified containerized waste at Riverside along with free petroleum product in underground storage tanks and surrounding soil, as well as pooled petroleum within Building #15. EPA is working in conjunction with NJDEP to address an unregulated discharge to the Passaic River from a pipe along the bulkhead adjacent to Building #10.

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What Is the Current Site Status?

The Proposed Plan for Riverside which identifies EPA’s preferred alternative for the cleanup of the site and was released in July 2020.  The preferred alternative addresses contaminated soil and groundwater as well as other media to prevent or reduce human health and wildlife exposures.

Soil: The preferred alternative for soil includes a focused excavation of lead-contaminated soil and petroleum around the perimeter of Building #7 with off-site disposal. The alternative also includes an engineered cap and bulkhead replacement to contain any remaining contaminants and prevent further exposures.  Deed notices will be modified to restrict future land use, and fencing will be installed to prevent trespassing.  This alternative will prevent or reduce contaminants leaching to the groundwater, and it will prevent or reduce erosion and transport of contaminated soil to the Passaic River.

Groundwater: The preferred alternative for groundwater includes a site-wide pumping system to extract contaminated groundwater for treatment and off-site disposal.  Based on water quality, EPA may choose to implement periodic injections to assist with the remediation of the groundwater.  This alternative will restore groundwater quality, and it will prevent or reduce transport of contaminants to the Passaic River.

Vapor Intrusion: The preferred alternative for vapor intrusion includes air monitoring in existing, occupied buildings.  It also requires future buildings to be constructed with a vapor barrier or other technology to seal the ground surface underneath the new building slab to prevent vapor intrusion.

Waste: The preferred alternative for waste includes the removal of underground storage tanks near Building #12, removal of the petroleum located inside Building #15A, and the removal of containerized waste. Waste would be transferred to vehicles for off-site disposal or recycling.  This alternative will prevent uncontrolled releases of waste to the environment and prevent exposure.

Inactive Sewer Pipe: The preferred alternative for the inactive sewer pipe includes cleaning out and power-washing an inactive manhole and sewer pipe located between Building #9 and the former Building #4.  The deposited sediments and remaining water in the manhole will be transferred to vehicles for off-site disposal or recycling.  This alternative will prevent uncontrolled releases of waste to the environment and prevent exposure.

A public comment period follows the issuance of the Proposed Plan.  EPA will document the selected cleanup remedy and respond to public comments in the Record of Decision.



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