The EPA announced Friday that it is proposing to use new, innovative technologies alongside more traditional methods to finish cleaning up the Bridgeport Rental and Oil Services (BROS) Superfund Site in Gloucester County, New Jersey.
The cleanup plan calls for the injection into the ground water of chemical and biological treatment activities that break down hazardous chemicals into a form that is not harmful to people or the environment. The plan also includes an innovative technology that will remove residual oil below the ground surface.
These methods, along with pumping out ground water and treating it at the site, will address any remaining contamination from oil and volatile organic compounds in the ground water. EPA will also remove contaminated soil and sediment from approximately 10 acres of wetlands that border the site.
“When we first investigated the site, it was an absolute mess with tanks and drums of chemicals leaking into the large lagoon that had become a contaminated cesspool,” said Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg. “Over the last 20 years, we have made tremendous progress,”
The BROS site began as a sand and gravel mining operation in the mid-to-late 1940's. By the 1950's and 1960's, the area contained a network of lagoons filled with water. After the initial mining operation was discontinued, the site served as a waste oil storage, recovery and tank leasing operation. The operation eventually included over 100 tanks and vessels. Waste oil and drums contaminated the onsite lagoons and, over time, the main lagoon expanded to over 13 acres.
In the early 1970’s, the waste oil lagoon overflowed, spreading contaminants into the adjacent Little Timber Creek and Swamp. This caused extensive damage to plant life and significantly impacted approximately three acres of the swamp. In 1982 and 1983, EPA pumped out and treated aqueous waste from the lagoon to prevent another overflow.
The site was added to the Superfund National Priorities List of the country’s most contaminated sites in 1983. In 1984, EPA finalized a Record of Decision that called for the cleanup of the waste oil lagoon, removal of the tank farm, and the installation of an alternative water supply to nearby homes.
The alternate waste supply was completed in 1985. The lagoon cleanup began in November 1991. The cleanup, completed in 1996, involved incinerating more than 172,000 tons of hazardous waste (oil and sludges) and treating almost 200 million gallons of wastewater. The lagoon was backfilled with sand, lime-treated ash, stone and clean topsoil.
A second investigation, conducted with the understanding that many of the primary sources of contamination were removed and the risk of exposure was substantially reduced, began in 1997 to determine the extent of the remaining contamination.
During this investigation, EPA discovered and removed debris and drums from two areas. Between September 2001 and December 2002, a total of 350 drums, eight gas cylinders and approximately 4,000 cubic yards of soil were excavated and transported off-site for disposal.
Fifteen oil recovery trenches and five passive oil recovery systems were installed in 2002. The passive oil recovery systems continue to operate and, to date, over 11,000 gallons of contaminated liquids have been recovered and shipped offsite for treatment and disposal.
EPA will hold a public information session for interested individuals on Tuesday, July 25, 2006 at 7:00 PM at the Township of Logan Municipal Building, located at 125 Main Street, Bridgeport, New Jersey.