EPA finalizes change to cleanup plan for Superfund site in New Jersey

Oct. 6, 2020

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a change to its 1992 plan for addressing groundwater contamination at a Superfund Site in Morganville, New Jersey once operated by Imperial Oil Co., Inc./Champion Chemical.

Groundwater data collected since the remedy for site soils was completed at the end of 2011 indicate that natural processes are effectively reducing the levels of contaminants and that active treatment of the groundwater is not needed. As a result, the agency has decided to rely on natural processes to address the groundwater rather than extract and treat it as the original decision stated.

“Based on our analysis of groundwater data, previous cleanup actions have led to a decrease of contaminant levels and these are continuing to decrease,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “As part of EPA’s ongoing efforts, monitoring and further studies will be conducted to ensure the effectiveness of the remedy.”

EPA is requiring periodic collection and analysis of groundwater samples to verify that the levels and extent of contaminants are declining, and that people’s health and the environment are protected. The EPA will conduct a review within 5 years to ensure the effectiveness of the cleanup.

EPA held a virtual public meeting in August 2020 to explain its cleanup proposal, discuss the other cleanup options that were considered, and receive public comments. To read the EPA’s selected cleanup plan, outlined in the Amendment to the Record of Decision, and to view EPA’s responses to public comments in the Responsiveness Summary, please visit www.epa.gov/superfund/imperial-oil.

The Imperial Oil facility, located in the Morganville section of Marlboro Township, operated from the 1950s until 2007. Improper work practices and piles of waste from oil reclamation activities contaminated soil on the plant property, adjacent wetlands, the nearby Birch Swamp Brook, and several adjacent residential properties. Groundwater underlying the site was also contaminated.

The site cleanup was originally overseen by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP). The NJDEP cleaned up part of the wetlands and contaminated sediments in the brook and removed some of the oil that was floating on top of the groundwater.

EPA took over the cleanup of the property in 2006 at NJDEP’s request. In 2008, EPA completed the demolition of structures on the site, including all production, storage, and maintenance buildings, as well as above-ground tanks.

In 2011, EPA completed the excavation of the soil and the restoration of the industrial property.  The excavated property areas were seeded and restored along with the restoration of the wetlands. In 2013, EPA completed the cleanup of the remaining wetlands and contaminated sediments in Birch Swamp Brook.

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