EPA Finalizes Plan to Remove Contamination Source and Expand Groundwater Treatment at the Combe Fill South Landfill Superfund Site in Chester Township, N.J.

 

NEW YORK, NY – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it has finalized a plan to address a newly identified contaminant and enhance treatment of contamination at the Combe Fill South Landfill site located in Chester Township in N.J., an inactive municipal landfill covering 65 acres. EPA’s cleanup plan includes expanding and enhancing the existing groundwater treatment system that is currently operating at the site in addition to excavating and removing an area of materials that are a contributing source of contamination.

 

“This cleanup targets a deeper layer of groundwater contamination by expanding and enhancing on-site treatment capabilities,”said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “The enhancements to groundwater cleanup at the Combe Fill South site will provide further protections to Chester residents and underscores EPA’s commitment to addressing toxic legacies such as non-compliant landfills and open dumps.”

 

The cleanup targets the landfill’s impact on a deeper layer of groundwater that is contaminated with volatile organic compounds, including 1,4 dioxane. The current system extracts and treats mostly shallow groundwater directly under the landfill, along with a limited amount of deeper groundwater from the bedrock aquifer below the landfill. EPA will make improvements to this treatment system, including, the addition of deeper groundwater extraction wells to capture more contamination. In addition, EPA will make improvements to the plant to handle the additional groundwater and effectively treat 1,4-dioxane, a contaminant that has recently been detected at the site but not treated by the current groundwater treatment system. Additionally, EPA will remove waste materials from a portion of the landfill that is contributing to the contamination of the deep groundwater. EPA’s cleanup plan also includes long-term monitoring of deep groundwater contamination in areas outside the Combe Fill South Landfill Superfund site.

 

EPA held a public meeting in August 2018 to explain its cleanup proposal, discuss the other cleanup options that were considered, and to solicit public comments. To read the EPA’s selected cleanup plan, please visit:  https://www.epa.gov/superfund/combe-fill-south

 

For a direct link to the Record of Decision, visit: https://semspub.epa.gov/src/document/02/550182

 

Background

The Combe Fill South Landfill, in Morris County, NJ, served as a municipal landfill from the 1940s until 1981. Soil and groundwater at the site were contaminated by volatile organic compounds from the landfill. Combe Fill Corporation went bankrupt in 1981 and the landfill was not properly closed. The original cleanup plan for the site included capping the landfill, installing a landfill gas collection system, pumping and treating the shallow groundwater beneath the site, and installing storm water runoff controls. By 1997, these actions were successfully completed. The system to treat shallow groundwater continues to operate at the site.

 

Starting in the early 1990s, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection began providing in-home water treatment systems to residents whose wells were potentially impacted by contamination coming from the landfill.

 

In 2015, EPA extended a water line to provide a permanent safe source of drinking water to 73 homes and businesses threatened by contaminated groundwater from the site. With the water line extension providing a permanent safe water supply to the neighborhood around the landfill, homes and local businesses no longer needed treatment systems.

 

The Superfund program has been providing important health benefits to communities across the country for more than 35 years. Superfund cleanups also strengthen local economies. Data collected through 2017 shows that at 487 Superfund sites in reuse, approximately 6,600 businesses are generating $43.6 billion in sales and employ 156,000 people who earned a combined income of $11.2 billion.

 

Under the Trump Administration, the Superfund program has reemerged as a priority to fulfill and strengthen EPA’s core mission of protecting human health and the environment.

 

On the one-year anniversary of the EPA’s Superfund Task Force Report, EPA announced significant progress in carrying out the report’s recommendations. These achievements will provide certainty to communities, state partners, and developers that the nation’s most hazardous sites will be cleaned up as quickly and safely as possible.

 

EPA’s “Superfund Task Force Recommendations 2018 Update” is available at: https://www.epa.gov/superfund/superfund-task-force-recommendations-2018-update.

 

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