RARITAN BAY SLAG
OLD BRIDGE TWP/SAYREVILLE, NJ
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The Raritan Bay Slag site is located in the Laurence Harbor section of Old Bridge and in Sayreville, New Jersey. The Laurence Harbor seawall, which makes up part of the site, was reported to have had metal slag from blast furnace bottoms deposited along the beachfront in the late 1960s and early 1970s. About 2,500 feet of the seawall have been impacted. Elevated concentrations of lead, antimony, arsenic and copper have been identified by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) along the seawall near the area where the processing byproducts were deposited. While site investigations within the seawall area were being conducted, another area of concern was identified on the Sayreville waterfront. This area consists of the western jetty at the Cheesequake Creek inlet and waterfront area. At the request of NJDEP, EPA evaluated the Raritan Bay Slag site for a short-term cleanup action under the federal Superfund program. In March 2009, the 47-acre property associated with Margret’s Creek was also included as part of the site because slag and battery casings were identified.
The overall site is approximately 1.5 miles in length and consists of the waterfront area between Margaret’s Creek and the areas just beyond the western jetty at the Cheesequake Creek Inlet. For ease of discussion and reference locations, the site has been divided into three sectors based on the type of environment and proximity to source areas: these sectors include the Seawall sector, the Jetty sector, and the Margaret’s Creek sector. Waves in Raritan Bay flow predominantly from the east and northeast (Atlantic Ocean), and contaminants from the Seawall and Margaret’s Creek sectors tend to migrate westward. Currents near the Jetty sector are complex due to strong tidal currents within Cheesequake Creek. This complicated environment dictates a specific sequencing of cleanup activities to prevent recontamination of remediated areas. The sequence for site remediation to prevent recontamination is as follows: the Margaret’s Creek sector; the Seawall sector; then the Jetty sector.
The primary sources of contamination are slag from a lead reclamation process and battery casings. The seawall is up to 80 percent slag. Battery casings were found in the upper two inches of depositional zones along the Seawall sector. Buried slag was observed in test excavations on the upland side and the eastern end of the seawall. . The Western Jetty and adjacent areas contain slag and some battery casings. The western side of the Western Jetty and the adjacent shoreline are comprised of 80 to 90 percent slag. The prevailing currents in the vicinity of the Western Jetty promote sediment deposition on the western side of the jetty and transport of sediment into Raritan Bay. Margaret’s Creek contains visible slag waste piles in upland areas of the Creek. Crushed battery casings were also observed scattered in upland areas of Margaret’s Creek. No slag or battery casings were observed in the wetland sediment.
What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?
Remedial investigation field activities took place from September 2010 through June 2011. Results showed significantly elevated levels of lead in the slag, soil, sediment and surface water. In May 2013, EPA published a Record of Decision for the site. EPA’s preferred cleanup plan included excavation, dredging and off-site disposal. Slag, battery casings and associated wastes, and contaminated and highly impacted soils and sediment above cleanup levels, would be dug up or dredged and disposed of at appropriate off-site facilities. Surface water monitoring would be performed to confirm that there are no increased risks due to removal activities.
What Is the Current Site Status?
September 2016, approximately $7,000,000 of federal funding was awarded to the Region to initiate the Remedial Action for Margaret’s Creek. The Superfund State Contract was signed in July 2016. The remedial action contract was awarded in September 2016 and field work began in November 2016.
Completion of the Remedial Action for Margaret’s Creek is anticipated late fall 2017.