Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

Superfund Site:

CORNELL DUBILIER ELECTRONICS INC.
SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ


Site Details



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Site Background

The Cornell-Dubilier Electronics, Inc. (CDE) site is located in South Plainfield, New Jersey. The former CDE facility, encompassing 26 acres in size, was previously used by a variety of commercial and industrial tenants. CDE operated at the facility from 1936 to 1962, manufacturing electronic components, including capacitors containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and chlorinated organic solvents. The company disposed of PCB-contaminated materials and other hazardous substances directly on the property soils. CDE's activities led to widespread contamination of soil, sediment and groundwater with PCBs, metals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The site’s long-term cleanup is ongoing.

 

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Stay Informed and Involved

South Plainfield Library, 2484 Plainfield Avenue, South Plainfield.

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EPA’s Involvement at this Site

EPA is addressing the site in multiple stages: first using removal actions and currently using long term remedial phases directed at cleanup of the entire site and the surrounding area.


EPA Removal Actions:  In March 1997, after identifying PCB-contaminated areas at the site, EPA issued an administrative order to the 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 Bound Brook through surface water run-off; and (3) pave driveways and parking areas within the property lines. These actions were mostly completed in the fall of 1997, with some follow up in 1999-2000. In March-April 1998, EPA completed a removal action to clean the interiors of residential homes located near the facility 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 facility, 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 approach to the long-term remedial responses,  the site was divided into phases, or operable units (OUs), due to its complexity and size. OU1 addresses properties in the vicinity of the former CDE facility. OU2 refers to the remediation of the 26-acre former CDE facility. OU3 and OU4 focus on the contaminated groundwater and contaminated sediments in Bound Brook. 
In September 2003, EPA selected a remedy for OU1 to address PCB-contaminated soils and interior dust at properties in the vicinity of the former CDE facility. 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 properties where PCBs were detected indoors. Using federal and state funds, EPA began remediating the first OU1 properties in 2005; remediation work was completed in 2014.  OU1 properties are generally located outside of the OU4 Study Area to the south and southwest of the former CDE facility.

As of February 2014, over 135 properties had been sampled or considered for sampling, and remedial actions were completed at 34 properties.


In September 2004, EPA selected a remedy for OU2 addressing the contamination at the 26-acre former CDE facility. 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 facility. 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.  As of this writing, all of the vapor sampling results were below EPA’s screening levels.  The OU3 ROD 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 Bound Brook under OU4, EPA’s OU4 remedy included a decision on the contaminated groundwater discharging to Bound Brook.


The final planned action (OU4) associated with the site addresses contamination within Bound Brook.  Bound Brook passes adjacent to the former CDE facility and has been impacted by the facility's waste disposal practices, erosion and transport of contaminated soil from the facility to the brook, and discharges of impacted groundwater to the brook. To determine the nature and extent of contamination within Bound Brook, a study was conducted on a 10 mile stretch starting as far east as the Talmadge Bridge on Bound Brook, extending west to the confluence of Bound Brook and Green Brook and ending approximately 1 mile down Green Brook. The investigation included sampling sediment, flood plain soils, and groundwater within the Bound Brook corridor, and also incorporated surface water and biota (fish and clams) sample results.


In May of 2015, a remedy was selected for OU4. The selected remedy consists of four components or parts. The first part involves the full remediation through excavation and off-site disposal of a capacitor debris area along the eastern banks of Bound Brook, adjacent to the former CDE facility.

EPA’s investigation determined that this area has been contributing to the contamination found within the Bound Brook sediments. The second component of the remedy addresses the contaminated groundwater that is currently releasing into Bound Brook from the former CDE facility. The remedy involves groundwater capture and treatment, specifically along the boundary with the former CDE facility and Bound Brook, to prevent the release of groundwater contaminants to surface water.

The third component consists of excavation and removal activities targeting contaminated sediment and floodplain soils along a three mile stretch of Bound Brook including the dredging of New Market Pond. The fourth and final component addresses the relocation of a 36 inch waterline that traverses the former CDE facility.
 

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Site Status

All removal actions have been completed and no further activities are planned.
The long term response actions associated with OU1 and OU2 have been completed. The long term response actions associated with OU3, specifically groundwater and vapor intrusion monitoring, continue to be implemented. For the OU4 remedy, the remedial design has begun for three (capacitor debris removal, , groundwater capture and waterline relocation) out of the four components with the remaining component, sediment removal from Bound Brook and soil removal from the Bound Brook flood plain,  to follow.
 

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Work to Protect Human Health and the Environment

The initial emergency responses (constructing a fence to limit site access, controlling surface water run-off, and paving driveways and parking areas within the industrial park) reduced the potential for exposure to and 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 property owner, under EPA's direction. Removing PCB contamination from nearby residential lots removed the potential for exposure to PCBs on these properties.
EPA has completed remedial actions associated with both OU1 (residential properties) and OU2 (the former CDE facility). The groundwater remedy (OU3) is being implemented, including groundwater monitoring over an area of approximately 825 acres and vapor intrusion monitoring, ensuring no exposures occur in the community.  The remedial design for Bound Brook (OU4 - components 1, 2 and 3) has been initiated and is expected to be completed in early 2018. OU4 Phase 4, the removal of contaminated sediments from the Bound Brook and its flood plain soils, is in the planning stage.
 

 

 

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Site Risks

The initial emergency response (constructing a fence to limit site access, installation of surface water run-off controls, and paving driveways and parking areas within the industrial park) reduced the potential for exposure to and off-site migration of hazardous substances while site studies could be performed. Since they were installed in 1997, these site control features have been maintained and upgraded by the property owner, under EPA's direction. Removing PCB contamination from nearby residential lots eliminated the potential for exposure to PCBs on these properties. Activities for OU2 (former CDE facility) have been completed and the facility property has been capped and transferred back to the owner for reuse and/or redevelopment. Therefore, these parts of the site do not pose an unacceptable risk to the public.


Groundwater risks are being addressed through a long-term groundwater monitoring program and sampling to confirm the absence of vapor intrusion associated with the site, and institutional controls including restrictions on private drinking water wells within the area of contamination. The sediment and floodplain soils within Bound Brook near the former CDE facility were found to present an unacceptable risk. The remedial decision issued in 2015 will address the unacceptable risks associated with Bound Brook.
 

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Redevelopment

All residential properties have been remediated as per the first remedy decision (OU1).  These homes continue to be occupied. The former CDE facility has been remediated consistent with the second selected remedy (OU2). An asphalt cap has been installed at the facility property and the property has been released to the owners for maintenance and potential redevelopment.


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