Reader Submitted: Ciba Geigy Cleanup
Recently the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held a public meeting to update the community on the progress of the remediation at the Ciba-Geigy site on Route 37. The site encompasses almost 1400 acres and is the largest single undeveloped property remaining in Toms River. From 1952 to 1990 Toms River Chemical and Ciba-Geigy manufactured dyes, pigments, resins and epoxy additives on the site. All commercial operations ceased in December of 1996. In 1983 the EPA placed the site on the National Priorities List under the Federal Superfund program. Treatment of waste water and other solid materials by Ciba-Geigy resulted in contamination of the groundwater and soil. The EPA directed the remediation be done in two (2) Operable Units (OU1 and OU2). IN 1996 OU1 commenced operations focused on the contaminated groundwater utilizing a pump and treat procedure with monitoring wells. This system contained the contamination plume and treated the contaminants.
OU2 dealt with the drums of contaminants in Cell Two (2) which was a lined landfill on the site that failed. The EPA originally estimated that the landfill contained 35,000 drums and had 160,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil. Both figures were severely underestimated. The actual number of drums on site was 47,055 and the amount of contaminated soil was 342,877 cubic yards (over twice the EPA estimate). The removal of the drums was completed in less than a year however the contaminated soil which was treated with bio-organisms took over 7 years to remediate and was recently competed in August 2010. Given the inaccuracy of the EPA’s estimates on the contents of Cell Two (2) it can probably be assumed that the estimates of the number of drums contained in the lined landfill known as Cell One (1) are probably low. The EPA states that the plastic liner in Cell One (1) should last over 30 years but no one can guarantee that the liner will not fail in the future. The Mayor and Council filed a court action to require Ciba-Geigy to remove the drums from Cell One (1) before the liner deteriorates and we are faced with a possible reoccurrence of groundwater and soil contamination. We are currently engaged in mediation with BASF, Inc. which has purchased Ciba-Geigy to remove the drums now. It makes absolutely no sense environmentally or economically to wait until the liner fails and we are faced with another environmental disaster.
Contact: Mo Hill (c) 732-606-6544
Note: information contained in this article were taken from the EPA’s Community Update dated October 2010 which was distributed at the meeting Wednesday October 6, 2010 at the Quality Inn, Route 37, Toms River, NJ.