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EPA completes groundwater treatment at superfund site

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regional administrator Judith A. Enck and Congressional Representative Rodney P. Frelinghuysen publicized the completion of a system to treat contaminated ground water at the Rockaway Borough Wellfield Superfund site in Rockaway Borough, New Jersey. The officials were in Morris and Essex Counties to review and assess progress on Superfund cleanups at six hazardous waste sites. They were joined by State and local officials to highlight the success of the federal Superfund law in protecting the health of people who live and work near contaminated sites, creating jobs and boosting local economies.

The Rockaway Borough Wellfield Superfund site includes three municipal water supply wells that supply drinking water to 11,000 people. The EPA recently completed work on a ground water treatment system to address perchloroethylene-contaminated ground water in the East Main Street/Wall Street area of the site.

In 1985, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection investigated the Rockaway Borough site and concluded that contamination found in the municipal water supply was coming from multiple source areas within the borough. EPA initiated a followup investigation to identify the sources of contamination, determine its extent and evaluate potential cleanup methods. These investigations confirmed the perchloroethylene contamination and determined that a facility belonging to Klockner and Kockner was responsible for contaminating the soil with tetrachloroethene, a commonly used industrial solvent that can have serious health impacts, including liver damage and an increased risk of cancer.

The EPA subsequently removed the contaminated soil and sent it to a facility certified to treat and dispose of it. The EPA installed a treatment system to clean up the ground water contamination. Work to remove and treat soil contaminated with lead at the Rockaway Borough site will begin later this year.

Other local Superfund sites still under EPA purview include:

  • The Radiation Technology, Inc. Superfund site – a 263-acre site that was used for testing and developing rocket motors and developing propellants.
  • The Rockaway Township Wells Superfund site – a two-square-mile wellfield containing a cluster of three municipal wells within 100 feet of each other that are contaminated with various volatile organic chemicals.
  • The Dayco Corp./L.E. Carpenter Company Superfund site – a 14.5-acre property housed buildings, warehouses and the remnants of disposal areas associated with a former vinyl wall covering manufacturing facility.
  • The Dover Municipal Well No. 4 Superfund site – a former public water supply well located in the town of Dover, located 1.5 miles away from three municipal wells serving approximately 22,000 people.
  • The Caldwell Trucking Co. Superfund site – a former sewage hauling site occupying 11 acres in Fairfield, consisting of properties and ground water contaminated by the disposal of residential, commercial and industrial septic waste.