EPA proposes plan to clean up large NJ Superfund site

The EPA is proposing a plan to clean up contaminants in the soil at the Ellis Property Superfund site in Evesham Township, N.J.

NEW YORK, NY, July 12, 2013 -- The soil at the Ellis Property Superfund site in Evesham Township, N.J., is contaminated with tetrachloroethylene and other volatile organic compounds that are polluting groundwater under the site. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a proposed plan to clean up the polluted area as groundwater there has historically served as a drinking water source and a source for irrigation of farmland nearby.

"Clean drinking water is a top priority for the EPA. By reducing toxic chemicals in the soil, the EPA will be protecting people's health and the environment by preventing these chemicals from polluting groundwater," said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. "This plan ensures a thorough cleanup. The EPA encourages public input on the proposed plan."

In this proposed second and final phase of the cleanup, the EPA will excavate 67,500 cubic yards of soil. Clean soil would be used as backfill and contaminated soils would be disposed of at an EPA-approved disposal facility. Although groundwater levels are expected to reach cleanup goals soon after the contaminated soil is removed, the groundwater treatment system will be kept in place for approximately one more year to further reduce groundwater contaminants. The EPA will conduct quarterly groundwater monitoring for the first year following this cleanup, followed by annual groundwater monitoring for the next nine years.

The EPA is requesting public comments on the proposed plan and will hold a public meeting on July 24, 2013 at 6:30 p.m., in the Municipal Courtroom at the Evesham Township Municipal Building at 984 Tuckerton Road, Marlton, N.J. Comments will be accepted until August 9, 2013.

In 1992, the EPA issued its first cleanup plan for the site. During this cleanup, contaminated soil was removed, and a system to extract and treat contaminated ground water was constructed. Tests performed in 2006 and 2007 revealed continued tetrachloroethylene contamination in soil below the water table. Despite the ongoing operation of the ground water treatment system at the site, tetrachloroethylene from the soil continues to contaminate the ground water.

The Superfund program operates on the principle that polluters should pay for the cleanups, rather than passing the costs to taxpayers. After sites are placed on the Superfund list of the most contaminated waste sites, the EPA searches for parties responsible for the contamination and holds them accountable for the costs of investigations and cleanups. In this instance, the EPA was unable to identify a viable party to pay the cleanup costs. The EPA estimates the cost of this cleanup will be $13.6 million.

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