Saturday, January 3, 2015

EPA seeks public input on Superfund site cleanup

NEWFIELD The Environmental Protection Agency will hold a meeting in Newfield on Wednesday to discuss and solicit comments on proposed cleanup actions at a West Boulevard Superfund site in the borough where Shieldalloy Metallurgical Corp. once operated.

About 56,000 people live within two miles of the site. In 1986, when groundwater restrictions were put into place, all the nearby homes with private wells were connected to the municipal water supply, according to information provided by the EPA.

In 1984, the site was placed on the Superfund list. Since then, actions addressing contamination issues have been taken in stages, according to an earlier EPA news release.

In 2010, the EPA assumed oversight position at the site from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and commissioned research to determine how to address persistent issues.

The project site spans 67.5 acres. Until 1970, processed wastewater was disposed into unlined lagoons, according to an EPA fact sheet.

The cleanup project, expected to cost $5.3 million, will not address a four-story-high "slag pile" at the site composed of low-level radioactive debris - primarily vanadium and chromium - left over from Shieldalloy's production processes.

Hexavalent chromium and heavy metals can have serious health impacts, including nervous system damage and cancer, according to the EPA.

The federal agency is proposing placing a one- to two-foot-thick cap on a 1.3 acre portion of contaminated soil to shield the soil from water exposure so contaminants do not leach into the ground.

The proposal also involves removing 9,800 cubic feet of heavy-metal-contaminated sediment from the Hudson branch of the Maurice River.

The meeting is to be at the Newfield Public Library, 115 Catawba Ave., at 7 p.m. The EPA is accepting written comments until July 26. They may be sent to

- Clark Mindock

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