EPA Proposes Cleanup Plan to Address Soil and Groundwater Contamination at the Riverside Industrial Park Superfund Site in Newark, New Jersey

News Releases from Region 02

07/22/2020

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NEWARK, N.J. – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing a cleanup plan for the Riverside Industrial Park Superfund site on the banks of the Passaic River in Newark. The proposed plan includes a combination of technologies and methods to address the cleanup of contaminated soil, sewer water, waste and groundwater at the site.

“EPA previously took action to prevent further release of hazardous chemicals into the river by plugging a discharge pipe and addressing the tanks that were the source of the release at the Riverside Industrial Park site,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “Today, after an extensive investigation of this industrial park with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, we are proposing what we believe are the best methods to clean up the contamination and maintain the protection of public health over time.”

The Riverside Industrial Park Superfund site is located on a 7.6-acre active industrial property. Beginning in 1903, industrial operations that included the manufacturing of paint, varnish, linseed oil and resins started. After 1971, the site was subdivided into 15 lots, some of which have ongoing business operations. The sources of soil and groundwater contamination include historic site operations, accidental spills, illegal dumping, improper handling of raw materials and/or improper waste disposal.

EPA’s proposed cleanup plan addresses contaminated soil, soil gas (gas trapped in the soil), groundwater, sewer water and waste at the site. In consultation with NJDEP, EPA is proposing the following actions based on an evaluation of various alternatives:

  • Off-site disposal, capping and taking other precautionary measures to protect people from soil contaminated with metals, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semivolatile organic compounds (SVOCs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Lead-contaminated soil and fill in the vicinity of Building #7 would be excavated and disposed of off-site. The bulkhead would be reinforced or reconstructed and a cap would be placed over contaminated areas. In addition, deed notices will be recorded and fencing will be maintained and enhanced, as appropriate, across the site.
  • Assessment of potential soil gas impacts on indoor air in buildings on the site and implementation of engineering and institutional controls. Sub-slab soil gas and/or indoor air quality will be assessed in existing buildings at the site and, if needed, vapor systems would be installed to protect future occupants from vapor intrusion. Buildings constructed in the future would include a vapor barrier or vapor intrusion mitigation system to protect occupants. EPA would ensure that site-wide deed notices and appropriate restrictions are established or amended to provide notice of certain property-use restrictions.
  • Treatment of contaminated groundwater impacted by metals, VOCs, SVOCs and fuel-related constituents. In addition to targeted in-place treatment, installation of a pump and treat system would bring contaminated groundwater to the surface where it will be treated before it is discharged. Institutional controls would be used to prevent potable use of the contaminated groundwater.
  • Removal and off-site disposal of sewer water. Sewer water contaminated by chlorinated organic chemicals and solids from a defunct sewer line would be transferred into appropriate containers or transport vehicles for off-site treatment and/or disposal along with proper closure of the sewer line.
  • Removal and off-site disposal of waste. Waste from underground storage tanks (USTs), contaminated soil around the USTs and various non-hazardous wastes found across the site would be transferred into appropriate containers or transport vehicles for off-site treatment and/or disposal.

The Riverside Industrial Park site includes both current and former manufacturing and packaging facilities at 29 Riverside Avenue in Newark, New Jersey. The site covers approximately 7 acres and contains a variety of industrial buildings, some of which are vacant. In 2009, at the request of NJDEP, EPA responded to an oil spill into the Passaic River that was eventually traced to two basement storage tanks in a vacant building on the site. The state and the City of Newark requested EPA’s help in assessing the contamination at the site and performing emergency actions to identify and stop the source of the spill. EPA investigated and discovered that chemicals including benzene, mercury, chromium and arsenic were improperly stored at the site. EPA took immediate actions to prevent further release of these chemicals into the river in the short-term. The site was added to the Superfund National Priorities List of the country’s most hazardous waste sites in 2013, and in 2014 an agreement was signed with PPG Industries, Inc. to perform the study of the site.

As part of the public comment period, EPA will hold a virtual public meeting on the proposed plan on August 5, 2020 at 7:00pm. Please register in advance of the meeting by visiting https://epa-riverside-proposed-plan.eventbrite.com or by emailing Shereen Kandil, Community Involvement Coordinator, at kandil.shereen@epa.gov or calling her at (212) 637-4333. Anyone interested in receiving a hard copy of the proposed plan or the materials for the public meeting should contact Shereen Kandil with such a request by Thursday, July 30, 2020.

Written comments on EPA’s proposed plan may be mailed or emailed to: Josh Smeraldi, Remedial Project Manager, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 290 Broadway, 18th Floor, New York, New York 10007-1866 or smeraldi.josh@epa.gov. Comments postmarked up until August 21, 2020, will be accepted.

To view EPA’s proposed plan for the site or for more information, please visit www.epa.gov/superfund/riverside-industrial

Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter at http://twitter.com/eparegion2 and visit our Facebook page, http://facebook.com/eparegion2

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