UNIMATIC MANUFACTURING CORPORATION
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The Unimatic Manufacturing Corporation Site (the Site) is located at 25 Sherwood Lane, Block 2301 and Lot 8, in an industrial and residential area of Fairfield, New Jersey. The Site covers approximately 1.23 acre and contains a centrally-located building on a partially paved parking lot. Unimatic constructed the building in 1955 to serve as a tool shop, and later for its die-casting operations. Adjoining properties include General Hose Products to the east, National Precision Tools Co. to the south, an office building to the west, and a buried water delivery pipeline for the Jersey City water system to the north.
From 1955 until 2001, Unimatic operated an aluminum die casting manufacturing process at the Site. In the die casting process, aluminum alloy was heated to approximately 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit in natural gas powered kilns. The molten aluminum alloy was then injected into a closed vessel (known as a casting die or mold) under high pressure and at a controlled temperature. Prior to injection with the molten alloy, the heated mold was coated with a lubricating oil that contained polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The PCB-contaminated lubricating oil was used to prevent aluminum from adhering to the molds. The spraying of these lubricants resulted in spillage and splatter throughout the interior of the building.
In addition, the facility discharged contaminated process water and cooling water through leaking wastewater pipes to a discharge point at the northeastern corner of the property. The wastewater pipes were poorly constructed allowing the contaminated wastewater to leak into the groundwater, soil, and sediment at the property.
In 2016, EPA issued a Record of Decision to remediate the PCB-contaminated soil. This is the first of two operable units planned for the Site. The selected remedy for operable unit one included: (1) i demolishion of a contaminated building, and 2) the excavation and disposal of all contaminated soils. The excavated areas will be backfilled with clean soil. The excavated soil and building debris will be disposed of at a regulated landfill. The remedial design for operable unit 1 is expected to be completed in 2018.
The groundwater, surface water, and sediment investigations, which will be the subjects of operable unit 2, is expected to be completed in 2018/2019.
What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?
The excavation of approximately 5,000 tons of PCB contaminated soil has reduced some risk associated with the Site. However, widespread PCB-contaminated soil and sediment remains in the subsurface of the Site both underneath and outside the building footprint. High levels of PCBs remain in the interior of the building. Groundwater on the Site remains contaminated with PCBs.
Under EPA’s final cleanup plan, the building will be demolished. Strict procedures will be followed to control dust during the demolition.The plan also includes removing the contaminated soil and replacing it with clean soil. In total, approximately 26,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil will be removed from the Site. During the cleanup, the EPA will monitor the air to protect the public from any hazardous particles in the air resulting from the demolition, and will sample the soil to ensure the effectiveness of the cleanup. In the next phase of the cleanup, the EPA will address the groundwater contamination.
What Is the Current Site Status?
On May 12, 2013, Unimatic Manufacturing Corporation Site was proposed by EPA for listing on the National Priorities List (NPL) and was added to the NPL on June 11, 2014. EPA plans to conduct the Site cleanup in two phases. Phase one or Operable Unit 1 (OU1) will address soil and building contamination. Fieldwork for the OU1 remedial investigation/feasibility study (RI/FS) was conducted during the spring/summer 2015.The plan to clean up OU1 was finalized in September 2016. Operable Unit 2 (OU2) will address contaminated groundwater and contaminated sediment. The OU2 RI/FS began during 2016.