[PLEASE NOTE: The information presented below is offered for educational purposes only.]
Vineland Chemical Co., Inc.
EPA ID#: NJD002385664
EPA REGION 2
Congressional District(s): 02
Site Description: The Vineland Chemical Company manufactured arsenic-based herbicides from 1950 to 1994 on this 54-acre site in a residential and industrial area of the City of Vineland. The plant site included a number of manufacturing and storage buildings, a laboratory, several lagoons, and former chicken coops. The majority of the site is covered with vegetation, with the exception of the parking lots and a paved manufacturing area. A security fence surrounded the main part of the plant, including the former manufacturing buildings and lagoon area. Prior to 1977, the company stored by-product arsenic salts in open piles and in the chicken coops. As a result of water contacting the exposed piles, arsenic contaminated an adjacent wetland (Blackwater Branch), surface and subsurface soils, groundwater, and the nearby Maurice River and downstream Union Lake. The lower Maurice River system extends 26 miles from the lake to the Delaware Bay. By 1982, the Vineland Chemical Company, in response to State actions, instituted some cleanup actions and modified the production process. These modifications included: installing a non-contact cooling water system, lining two of the lagoons, installing a storm water runoff collection system, and disposing of piles of waste salts. Also, in 1982, the company, under a State Administrative Order, began operating a wastewater treatment system to remove arsenic. The treatment system received contaminated process water and groundwater from two lined surface impoundments and discharged treated water to percolation lagoons. However, the treatment system was able to process only 35,000 gallons of contaminated water per day, while an estimated 150,000 gallons left the site daily. Further, the system had been unable to reduce arsenic concentrations to acceptable levels. Approximately 57,000 people depend on the groundwater system in the area for drinking water, either through private or municipal wells. Residential areas are located on all sides of the site. Numerous towns and villages are close to the Maurice River.
Site Responsibility: This site is being addressed through Federal actions.
Threat and Contaminants: The groundwater is contaminated with organic and inorganic arsenic, along with some minor amounts of other metals. The surface soil on the site is contaminated with arsenic and small amounts of other metals. The subsurface soil is contaminated with arsenic alone. Sediments and surface waters in the Blackwater Branch, Maurice River and Union Lake are also contaminated with arsenic. A health screening study in the 1990s showed that some employees of Vineland Chemical Co. Inc. had elevated concentrations of arsenic in their blood and urine. Accidental ingestion, direct contact, or inhalation of the contaminants may result in an increased exposure to carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic risks. Nearby residents located downstream of the plant site using well water also may be subject to health risks. Because of the contamination migrating from the site, recreational activities are being monitored in the Maurice River and Union Lake.
Cleanup Approach: The site is being addressed in two stages -- immediate actions, and four long-term remedial phases focusing on source control, contaminant migration management, and the cleanup of marsh/river and lake sediments. The remedy was selected in a Record of Decision in 1989.
Response Action Status/Immediate Actions: In 1992 and 1993, EPA boarded up the chicken coops and abandoned buildings, fenced off the contaminated areas, and removed hazardous chemicals stored on the site. In 1995, EPA completed demolition work at the site which included the removal and disposal of eight contaminated buildings. The final two remaining site buildings were demolished in the spring of 2004.
Plant Site Source Control: Cleanup by EPA of the arsenic-contaminated soil on the site, which is a continuing source of groundwater contamination. In September 2001, EPA revised the approach for dealing with contaminated plant soils. An Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD) was issued calling for the excavation and washing of the plant site soils (vs in-place flushing). Also, in 2001, a contract was awarded to begin the soil washing work. The construction of the soil washing facility was completed in the fall of 2003. In early 2004, after a start-up and optimization period, full-scale operation of the innovative soil washing plant began. The on-site soil remediation has been integrated with the first phase of the River Areas work (i.e., the adjacent contaminated marsh/wetland sediments) and was for the most part, completed in December 2007. Some final grading and plant restoration activities remain to be completed. Over 400,000 tons of arsenic-contaminated soil/sediments were processed through the soil washing plant.
Plant Site Management of Migration: Cleanup of the arsenic-contaminated shallow groundwater and reduce or prevent its migration to the Blackwater Branch, a tributary to the Maurice River. This involves pumping groundwater at a high flow rate, treatment and discharge to surface water (i.e., the Blackwater Branch). The contract for the construction of a two million gallon per day (MGD) extraction and treatment system was awarded in September 1997. Actual construction of the facility began in March 1998 and continued for two years. Operation of the new facility began in the spring of 2000 and is ongoing. The pump and treat operation has effectively captured the flow of arsenic-contaminated groundwater from the plant site. The quality of effluent from the groundwater treatment plant continues to meet the Record of Decision cleanup standard. To date, over 3.6 billion gallons of contaminated groundwater have been treated at the facility.
River Areas Sediments: The approach for River Areas is to undertake sediment remediation activities in the Blackwater Branch and Maurice River in a phased manner. The remedy addresses exposed and submerged arsenic-contaminated sediments in the Blackwater Branch adjacent to and downstream of the Vineland Chemical Company plant site and, in the future after further monitoring and evaluation, may also include the sediments in the Maurice River. The remedy involves excavation of exposed and submerged arsenic-contaminated sediments from the stream corridor and floodplain of Blackwater Branch. After excavation, the course-grained sediments were processed through the soil washing facility and re-deposited in the excavated areas. The fine-grained material not amenable to soil washing was high-pile dried and disposed of at a permitted off-site facility. The Blackwater Branch remediation from the plant site to the confluence with the Maurice River is being implemented in four phases. Clean-water stream diversions are constructed within each phase to allow for the removal of contaminated sediment under controlled surface water management conditions and prevent the discharge of contaminated sediment into the Maurice River. Sequencing the work in phases accommodates stream diversion roadway crossings and supports schedule and budget management. The first phase encompassing the area east of Mill Road is complete and has been restored by re-establishing the Atlantic While Cedar wetlands that existed before the contamination occured. Sediment excavation and backfilling in the segments from Mill Road to Route 55 and Route 55 to the Maurice River parkway have been completed and Atlantic White Cedar wetlands restoration activities are ongoing. The final segment from Maurice River Parkway to near the confluence of the Maurice River is near completion, and the remaining preliminary restoration activities are planned to be completed by 2014. This effort will be followed by a three-year period of natural river flushing of sediments in the Maurice River.
Union Lake Sediments: The impacts of Plant Site Source Control, Plant Site Management of Migration and River Areas remedial activities on Union Lake will be evaluated prior to proceeding with active cleanup of the lake. Arsenic contamination in sediment was widespread in much of the lake. Contamination is surficial with highly variable concentrations (undetected to elevated levels). Surface water samples only had elevated arsenic concentrations when agitated (mixed with contaminated sediment).
Site Facts: EPA is performing environmental studies to evaluate the need to clean up the river and lake sediments. These long-term studies will utilize data collected before and during the cleanup activities involving the soil and groundwater. In February 1994, a consent decree to settle liability of the owner and the only responsible party, Miriam Schwerdtle, was entered in the court.
Cleanup Progress: EPA early on sealed the chicken coops and abandoned buildings, fenced off the contaminated areas, and removed hazardous chemicals stored on the site. EPA also demolished and disposed of the arsenic-contaminated buildings. These actions reduced the risk to human health and the environment. Remedial activities in connection with Operable Unit 1- Plant Site Source Control (i.e., on-site soils) have been completed. The on-site soils were processed in a 70-ton per hour soil washing facility. Operable Unit 2 - Plant Site Management of Migration (i.e., groundwater extraction and treatment) and Operable Unit 3 - River Areas (i.e., phased sediment excavation along the Blackwater Branch) are ongoing. The groundwater plant is anticipated to operate for approximately 15 years. EPA completed the cleanup of arsenic-contaminated sediments associated with the first phase/segment of the Blackwater Branch in December 2007. Remedial work on the remainder of Blackwater Branch began in mid-2008 and will wrap up in 2012. The contaminated sediment from the Blackwater Branch has been removed, and the final area between the Maurice River and the Maurice River Parkway will start restoration in the Spring of 2012. Upon completion of the ongoing Blackwater Branch sediment cleanup, EPA will be further evaluating the cleanup options for the remaining Operable Unit 3 - River Areas (i.e., Maurice River) and Operable Unit 4 - Union Lake. The site is completely fenced. The Vineland Chemical Company site received American Resource and Recovery Act (ARRA) funding in fiscal year 2009. EPA will use the $20 million in Recovery Act funds allocated to this site for River Areas remedial construction. A diversion channel will be constructed to divert the Blackwater Branch while arsenic-contaminated sediments are excavated from stream channel and buffering wetlands areas. The stream channel and wetlands will be backfilled and restored with indigenous vegetation. The goal of this remedy is to eliminate secondary source material which adds arsenic contaminant load to downstream river environs and Union Lake. The ARRA funding for this site is being used to speed up the cleanup of the remaining stretches of Blackwater Branch. The associated contaminated sediments are the major remaining source of arsenic contamination to the Maurice River, designated as a scenic river and Union Lake, the second largest lake in NJ. Mobilization for the initiation of field activities occurred in June 2009.
Ventron/Velsicol Environmental Pollution in New Jersey- Site: Ventron/Velsicol
Ventron/Velsicol Superfund Site Info
Va - Vz New Jersey Superfund Sites: Va - Vz
New Jersey Superfund Site Info