Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

Superfund Site:

IMPERIAL OIL CO., INC./CHAMPION CHEMICALS
MORGANVILLE, NJ


Site Details



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Site Background

The Imperial Oil Co., Inc./Champion Chemicals (IOC/CC) site is located in Marlboro Township, New Jersey. The site includes a 15-acre plant and surrounding contaminated properties. From 1969 to 2007, Imperial Oil Company, Inc. operated an oil blending facility on site. Prior to this, other companies operated at the site, including a chemical processing plant that produced arsenical pesticides, followed by a manufacturer of flavors and essences. These operations resulted in the contamination of soils and groundwater with hazardous chemicals. Following immediate actions to protect human health and the environment, EPA put the site’s long-term remedy in place. Operation of the site’s treatment systems is ongoing.

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Stay Informed and Involved

Marlboro Township Municipal Building Mayor's Office 1979 Township Drive Marlboro, New Jersey 07746 (908) 536-0200 New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Bureau of Community Relations 401 East State Street, 6th floor Trenton, NJ 08625-0413

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EPA’s Involvement at this Site

Industrial activities at the site started around 1912. Initially, ketchup and tomato paste were manufactured at the facility until about 1917, at which time it was converted into a chemical processing plant. Chemical plant products may have included arsenic acid and calcium arsenate, followed by the manufacturing of flavors and essences. In about 1950, Champion Chemical purchased the plant and it became an oil reclamation facility. Waste products of the reclamation process included wash water, waste oils and sludge, and spent filter clay. Reportedly, the waste filter clay containing lead, zinc, iron and other heavy metals was piled outside near the settling tank for temporary storage. Wash water was discharged into a settling lagoon on site. This operation continued until about 1965.

Imperial Oil Company leased the site from Champion Chemical in 1968 and began oil blending operations, including mixing and repackaging unused oil for delivery. Raw products (refined clean oil) were delivered by truck and transferred to aboveground tanks on the site. Imperial Oil Company's operations included seven buildings on site used for production, storage and maintenance. There were also 56 aboveground oil storage tanks in four separate tank farm areas. Imperial Oil ceased operations in 2007.

Following immediate actions to protect human health and the environment, and site investigations, EPA placed the site on the Superfund program’s National Priorities List in September 1983.

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Site Status

This site is being addressed by immediate actions and three long-term remedial phases focusing on cleanup of off-site soil and sediment contamination, on-site soil contamination, and ground water contamination. Response Action Status Immediate Actions: In 1991, EPA excavated and disposed of an on-site waste filter clay pile pursuant to a removal action. An impermeable tarp was placed over the remaining waste filter clay material to prevent the infiltration of rainwater and human contact. The waste filter clay material was contaminated with VOCs, PCBs, metals, and petroleum hydrocarbons. In 1991, EPA installed and began operation of an oil/water treatment system to remove an oily layer or "floating product" from the surface of the ground water beneath the site. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) has periodically pumped floating product from the surface of the groundwater beneath the process area and recovered PCB-contaminated oil from these extraction wells. Also, EPA excavated and removed several buried drums that were discovered during the installation of the floating product recovery and treatment system. In 1997, EPA posted warning signs on foot and bicycle trails near the site and the tarp covering the remaining waste filter clay pile was replaced to prevent any human contact with the contaminants and to limit the migration of the contamination. In April 2002, EPA excavated and disposed of a 25 foot by 25 foot area of soil containing a tar-like material discovered outside of the fenced area. The presence of elevated levels of PCBs and lead in this material may have presented a dermal contact threat to trespassers. In August 2007, EPA arranged for 24-hour security at the site, given that Imperial Oil declared bankruptcy and ceased operations at the site during July 2007. Off-Site Contamination: In 1990, EPA selected a remedy for operable unit one (OU1) involving off-site contamination. The remedy called for excavation and off-site disposal of contaminated soils from wetland areas located north of the Imperial facility, restoration of affected wetlands, and installation of a fence to control access to the contaminated soil areas. The design and implementation of the cleanup was managed by NJDEP. In 1991, EPA installed a fence around the off-site contaminated area. Additional sampling of nearby residential properties, wetlands and surface waters including Lake Lefferts was performed as part of the design effort. The additional sampling demonstrated that arsenic and lead were found in high concentrations on nearby residential properties, in the wetlands, and in Birch Swamp Brook. In 1996, the U.S. Geological Survey completed an investigation into the sources of elevated arsenic contamination in soil in the vicinity of the site. The investigation found elevated concentrations of site-related arsenic in the soils on four residential properties. In September 1997, EPA issued an Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD) to explain changes made to the OU1 remedy. In addition to the remediation of the originally identified off-site areas, the ESD provided for the excavation and off-site disposal of contaminated soils found on the residential properties, and the installation of engineering controls in the areas surrounding the fire pond, the wetlands, and Birch Swamp Brook to prevent the recontamination of the off-site areas. In March 1998, EPA initiated the excavation and off-site disposal of the contaminated soils on the residential properties. In August 1998, EPA completed the excavation work and restored the properties. In July 2002, EPA issued a second ESD to explain additional changes made to the OU1 remedy. The second ESD provided for the cleanup of sediment in the Birch Swamp Brook from the Fire Pond to Texas Road, and the cleanup of contaminated soil found on two residential properties located adjacent to the Birch Swamp Brook. The NJDEP implemented the OU1 remedy in 2004. On-Site Contamination: In September 1992, a Record of Decision was issued for Operable Unit 2 (OU2) to address the remediation of contaminated ground water. The remedy calls for the extraction of the contaminated ground water, treatment of the extracted ground water via precipitation and carbon adsorption, and discharge of the treated water to Birch Swamp Brook. The remedy also includes the continuation of the floating product extraction and treatment system. Implementation of the OU3 remedy has removed contaminant sources to the groundwater underlying the site. Monitoring wells installed on site will be used to collect samples to assess contamiant levels remaining in the groundwater. This data will be evaluated before implementation of the OU2 remedy. NJDEP completed a remedial investigation to determine the nature and extent of the soil contamination located in the vicinity of the Imperial Oil facility, which is referred to as Operable Unit 3 (OU3). In 1998, NJDEP prepared a Feasibility Study Report to evaluate cleanup alternatives for addressing the soil contamination found in the vicinity of the Imperial Oil facility. A Record of Decision for OU3 was issued in September 1999. The OU3 remedy calls for the excavation and off-site disposal of contaminated soil, removal and off-site incineration of floating product, dismantling of site buildings and tank farms, as necessary to complete excavation of contaminated soil and removal of floating product, and restoration of wetlands affected by cleanup activities. Consistent with the OU3 remedy, EPA dismantled an on-site abandoned masonry building which was in danger of collapse during the Fall of 2000. Demolition of the masonry building, and disposal or recycling of the resulting debris was completed in November 2000. From 1999 through 2005, NJDEP conducted design work for OU3, including the performance of pre-design surface and subsurface soil sampling events. In late 2006, EPA became the lead agency for the site. In January 2008, EPA initiated the removal of on-site tanks and tank contents as well as remaining industrial buildings, consistent with the OU3 remedy. Tank removal at the site was completed in August 2008, along with the demolition of six buildings on site. Only a small maintenance building that houses the surface run-off treatment system and the floating product recovery system was left in place to be demolished during the full scale OU3 remedial action. EPA completed the design of the OU3 remedy in December 2008. Recovery Act Project Activity EPA used the approximately $33 million in Recovery Act funds allocated to this site for remediation of contaminated soils (OU3). Construction of the OU3 remedy began in October 2009. Initial activities included pre-excavation sampling to better define the limits of excavation and placement of the slurry wall. Pre-excavation sampling was followed by construction of the 70 foot deep slurry wall which facilitated dewatering of the area to be excavated. Excavation of contaminated soils and floating product began in July 2010. Over 4,300 gallons of free phase floating product were recovered from the source areas and 30 million gallons of groundwater were extracted and teated during excavation activities. A total of 184,578 cubic yards of contaminated soil were excavated and transported off-site for disposal. Backfill with clean fill, final grading and restoration of wetlands were completed on schedule in December 2011. The Remedial Action Report for OU3 was finalized in March 2012.

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Work to Protect Human Health and the Environment

Immediate Actions: In 1991, EPA dug up and disposed of an on-site waste filter clay pile. An impermeable tarp over the remaining waste filter clay material prevented the infiltration of rainwater and human contact. The waste filter clay material was contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), metals and petroleum hydrocarbons. In 1991, EPA installed and began operation of an oil/water treatment system to remove an oily layer, or "floating product," from the surface of the groundwater beneath the site. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) has periodically pumped floating product from the surface of the groundwater beneath the process area and recovered PCB-contaminated oil from these extraction wells. Also, EPA dug up and removed several buried drums discovered during the installation of the floating product recovery and treatment system.

In 1997, EPA posted warning signs on trails near the site. EPA replaced the tarp covering the remaining waste filter clay pile to prevent any human contact with the contaminants and to limit the migration of the contamination. In April 2002, EPA dug up and disposed of a 25-foot-by-25-foot area of soil containing a tar-like material discovered outside of the fenced area. The presence of elevated levels of PCBs and lead in this material may have presented a dermal contact threat to trespassers. In August 2007, EPA arranged for 24-hour security at the site, after Imperial Oil declared bankruptcy and ceased operations at the site in July 2007.

Off-site Contamination: In 1990, EPA selected a remedy for off-site contamination. It included excavation and off-site disposal of contaminated soils from wetland areas north of the Imperial Oil facility, restoration of affected wetlands, and a fence to control access to contaminated soil areas. NJDEP designed and led the cleanup. In 1991, EPA installed a fence around the off-site contaminated area. Additional sampling of nearby residential properties, wetlands and surface waters, including Lake Lefferts, was part of the design effort. The sampling found high concentrations of arsenic and lead on nearby residential properties, in the wetlands and in Birch Swamp Brook. In 1996, the U.S. Geological Survey completed an investigation into the sources of elevated arsenic contamination in soil near the site. The investigation found elevated concentrations of site-related arsenic in the soils on four residential properties. In September 1997, EPA updated the remedy to include the excavation and off-site disposal of contaminated soils found on the residential properties. It also included the installation of engineering controls in the areas surrounding the fire pond, the wetlands and Birch Swamp Brook to
prevent the recontamination of the off-site areas.

In March 1998, EPA started the excavation and off-site disposal of contaminated soils on the residential properties. In August 1998, EPA completed the excavation work and restored the properties. In July 2002, EPA updated the remedy again, this time to include cleanup of sediment in Birch Swamp Brook from the Fire Pond to Texas Road, and the cleanup of contaminated soil on two residential properties next to Birch Swamp Brook.

During 2004, 14,899 cubic yards of contaminated soil and sediment were removed from Birch
Swamp Brook, Off-site Areas 1 and 2, and the two residential properties. After follow-up sampling indicated contamination remained on the two residential properties, EPA dug up the contaminated soil, backfilling the areas with clean fill, and restoring and grading them to original conditions. This work finished in March 2012. EPA is now evaluating the results of the confirmatory program on Birch Swamp
Brook and will determine what actions, if any, are necessary.

Groundwater Contamination: In September 1992, EPA selected a remedy for contaminated groundwater. It included the extraction of the contaminated groundwater, treatment of the extracted groundwater via precipitation and carbon adsorption, and discharge of the treated water to Birch Swamp Brook. The remedy also included the ongoing operation of the site’s floating product extraction and treatment system.

Soil Contamination: EPA selected a remedy for the site’s soil contamination in September 1999. It included the excavation and off-site disposal of contaminated soil; removal and off-site incineration of floating product; dismantling of site buildings and tank farms, as necessary, to complete excavation of contaminated soil and removal of floating product; and restoration of wetlands affected by cleanup activities. Consistent with the remedy, EPA dismantled an on-site abandoned masonry building in danger of collapse during the fall of 2000. Cleanup began in January 2008, after design of the remedy.

In August 2008, EPA completed the removal of tanks and tank contents, and the demolition of six production, storage and maintenance buildings on site. The removal of the tanks and tank contents mitigated the potential for accidental discharge of oils at the site. The work included the recycling of over 900 tons of concrete and disposal of about 50 tons of demolition debris; transportation and disposal of 1,625 pounds of laboratory chemicals abandoned at the site; recycling of about 60,000 gallons of oil; recycling of over 400 tons of scrap metal generated from the demolition of 58 aboveground storage tanks; disposal of about 40,000 pounds of PCB oil/sludge and 10,000 gallons of hazardous liquid; recycling of 40 yards of empty drums and over 100 pounds of hazardous solids; and on-site treatment of about one million gallons of stormwater.

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Redevelopment

The 15-acre Imperial Oil Co., Inc./Champion Chemicals Superfund is located in Morganville, New Jersey. Many industrial companies operated at the site, including Imperial Oil Company. Companies produced pesticides and reprocessed waste oil. General operations and waste disposal practices led to contaminated groundwater and soils at the site. EPA added the site to the Superfund program’s National Priorities List (NPL) in 1983. EPA and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) immediately removed contaminated soils and buried drums. Cleanup of nearby residential homes and the surrounding wetlands began in 1992. Additional cleanup included installation of an oil extraction and treatment system and a water treatment system. In 2008, EPA demolished remaining buildings and storage tanks. In addition, fencing and well water restrictions reduce potential risks to human health. In 2009, funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) supported further cleanup. This included removal of 185,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil and restoring wetlands. Working with NJDEP, EPA created protected wetland areas and two separate wildlife habitats for box turtles. The wetlands now support the local box turtle population as well as other wildlife. About six to eight acres of the site is currently on the market as developable land for residential or commercial use.


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