EPA Proposes Plan to Remove Pollutants from Former Sherwin-Williams Plant in Gibbsboro, New Jersey

EPA Proposes Plan to Remove Pollutants from Former Sherwin-Williams Plant in Gibbsboro, New Jersey
$14 Million Cleanup to Address Lead, Arsenic and Volatile Organic Compounds

(New York, N.Y. – June 1, 2015) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a plan to clean up contaminated soil from residential properties at the Sherwin-Williams/Hilliards Creek Superfund site in Gibbsboro and Voorhees, New Jersey. The site includes a former paint manufacturing plant and the waters of Hilliards Creek which flow into Kirkwood Lake. The soil and the groundwater beneath the former paint manufacturing site are contaminated with lead, arsenic and volatile organic compounds. Sediment in and near Hilliards Creek are contaminated with lead and arsenic.

Lead exposure can have serious, long-term health consequences in adults and children. Even at low levels, lead in children can cause I.Q. deficiencies, reading and learning disabilities, impaired hearing, reduced attention spans, hyperactivity and other behavioral problems. Lead exposure can also cause health problems in pregnant women and harm fetuses. Arsenic and volatile organic compounds can damage people’s health and the environment.

EPA is proposing to remediate contaminated soil on approximately 33 residential properties in Gibbsboro and Voorhees. The soil would be dug up and properly disposed of at facilities licensed to handle the waste. The excavated areas would be backfilled with clean soil, replanted with vegetation, if appropriate, and restored. Data from residential soil sampling at 55 properties sampled for potential action has been shared with the property owners. Additional properties may require a cleanup and under the proposed plan EPA would determine the precise number of residential properties that would need soil remediation after additional sampling during the design phase of the project. The EPA will coordinate with the property owners or occupants to ensure that the work is done with minimal disruption. EPA will monitor the air near the work areas.

“Lead is a toxic metal that can cause damage to a child’s ability to learn and a range of other health problems,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck. “It is imperative that the contamination on residential properties is addressed to protect people’s health.”

The Sherwin-Williams/Hilliard’s Creek site along with the Route 561 Dump site and the United States Avenue Burn Superfund site, located in Gibbsboro, are sources of contaminated soil and sediment, which have spread onto a number of residential properties within Gibbsboro and Voorhees. Paint manufacturing and related activities at the sites resulted in widespread contamination of soil, sediment and groundwater with high levels of various contaminants including lead, arsenic and volatile organic compounds. Hilliards Creek, Kirkwood Lake, the Gibbsboro Nature Preserve and residential areas have been impacted and require a cleanup.

Under previous regulatory orders by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the EPA, Sherwin-Williams has removed 8,096 cubic yards of sludge from a former lagoon area, removed 44,785 gallons of liquid waste, installed a soil vapor extraction treatment system to reduce the volatile organic compounds in the soil near two former plant buildings, installed fencing to limit access to some source areas and taken other steps to address the pollution.

The EPA oversaw an in-depth investigation of the extent of the contamination in order to determine how best to clean it up over the long term. The proposed soil cleanup on residential properties announced today builds upon the previous work and precedes additional cleanup action that will be developed in the future as part of the comprehensive cleanup.

The Superfund program operates on the principle that polluters should pay for the cleanups, rather than passing the costs to taxpayers. The EPA searches for parties legally responsible for the contamination at sites that are placed on the Superfund list and it seeks to hold those parties accountable for the costs of investigations and cleanups. It is anticipated that the proposed $14 million soil cleanup of the residential properties impacted by the Sherwin-Williams/Hilliards Creek site, the Route 561 Dump site and the United States Avenue Burn site will be conducted and paid for by any such party with oversight by the EPA.

To view the proposed plan for the Sherwin-Williams/Hilliards Creek Superfund site, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/region02/superfund/npl/sherwin/.
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