Another important step toward cleaning up the Quanta Resources Superfund site in Edgewater, N.J., was announced today by the Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The agreement with Honeywell International Inc. and 23 other parties, embodied in a consent decree lodged today in federal court, requires the performance of pre-construction project design work and requires Honeywell to carry out the actual cleanup work under the EPA’s oversight. The cleanup of the Quanta Site is expected to result in its redevelopment.
After the design is completed and approved by EPA, the cleanup will proceed at the Quanta Site, which is located adjacent to the Hudson River. The work is expected to take approximately two to three years and cost $78 million.
Currently, soil and ground water at the site are contaminated with arsenic, lead, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and volatile organic compounds resulting from over 100 years of industrial activities in the area. Exposure to these pollutants can have serious health effects, and in some cases, increase the risk of cancer.
“This agreement marks a major milestone toward finally cleaning up the industrial pollution legacy at the Quanta Site,” said Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “The settlement holds those responsible for the pollution accountable for the cleanup, and brings us closer to the future redevelopment of this site for the benefit of the people of New Jersey.”
“The Superfund program operates on the principle that polluters should pay for the cleanups, rather than passing the costs to taxpayers,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “The EPA searches for parties responsible for the contamination and holds them accountable. This agreement is an important part of that process and a step in the right direction.”
The Quanta site, located on River Road at the intersection of Gorge Road in Edgewater, was built as a coal tar facility beginning in the 1880s. In the 1970s, the site’s “tank farm” was used to store waste oil prior to reprocessing. The state of New Jersey closed the facility in 1981 when some storage tanks were found to contain waste oil contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls. The EPA supervised a series of emergency actions at the site that included safely removing and disposing of millions of gallons of waste oil, sludge and contaminated water from the tanks, and cleaning and dismantling the emptied tanks and piping.
Because of the nature and complexity of the contamination, the EPA divided the investigation and cleanup into two phases – one addressing the contaminated soil and ground water, and the other focused on contamination in the river and sediment. The plan to address the contaminated soil and ground water was finalized in July 2010. The EPA took public comment for 60 days and considered public input before selecting a cleanup plan. This phase of the cleanup is addressed in the consent decree lodged today. A separate study of the Hudson River and sediment contamination will lead to a subsequent cleanup plan for the next phase.
The site contains an estimated 150,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil requiring treatment to protect people that may come into contact with it. Among other steps, the EPA will solidify and stabilize areas of soil contaminated with oily liquid and arsenic by turning them into leak-proof blocks underground. Throughout the cleanup, monitoring, testing and further studies will be conducted to ensure the effectiveness of the remedy.
Aside from Honeywell International Inc., the other parties that have agreed to the consent decree are, for the most part, waste oil generators whose wastes were disposed of at the Quanta site. They include: BASF Corporation; Beazer East Inc.; BFI Waste Systems of New Jersey Inc.; BorgWarner Inc.; Buckeye Pipe Line Co. LP; Chemical Leaman Tank Lines Inc. (now Quality Carriers); Colonial Pipeline Co.; Consolidated Rail Corp.; Exxon Mobil Corp; Ford Motor Company; General Dynamics Land Systems Inc.; Hess Corp.; Miller Brewing Co.; NEAPCO Inc.; Northrup Grumman Systems Corp.; Petroleum Tank Cleaners Inc.; Rome Strip Steel Co. Inc.; Quanta Resources Corp.; Stanley Black & Decker Inc.; Textron Inc.; and United Technologies Corp.
For a full description of the EPA’s cleanup plan and the history of the site, please visit: www.epa.gov/region02/superfund/npl/quanta