EPA delays: Cleanup on hold at abandoned New Jersey refinery

    It’s been three months since the Environmental Protection Agency began assessing and cataloging the former Pure Earth refinery waste recycling site in Millville, New Jersey.

    Just before the project’s Phase Two cleanup is set to begin in September, EPA officials are pulling out behind a lack of federal funding leaving contaminants likely leeching into the soil and numerous drums, bags and tanks of chemicals including peroxides, acids and caustics inside the abandoned facility.

    The company that originally abandoned the site was “cited by the EPA for Resource Conservation & Recovery Act violations and settled with the federal government in a civil consent agreement in February 2012,” reports The Daily Journal. “Pure Earth was fined $750,000 and subsequently ceased operations; however, it left the materials in place.”

    According to a representative with the EPA, officials scoured the 32-acre recycling site and have processed over a thousand soil, solid, and liquid samples from the site at a cost of $120,000.

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    The EPA list of identified items in the staging area includes:

    • 25 containers of corrosives, ranging in size from 5 gallons to 55 gallons. There are four 300-gallon totes of corrosives.

    • One dozen five-gallon to 55-gallon containers of oxidizers.

    • 7 containers ranging in size from five to 55 gallons of non RCRA hazardous liquid.

    • 52 containers of unknown materials with no markings or labels.

    • 2 five-gallon pails of class 9 materials. (Class 9 materials are hazardous materials that are either unknown or do not fit into one of the other eight material classifications.)

    • 63 containers of flammable liquids in five- to 55-gallon containers. There are also 123 small containers of flammables which are less than five gallons in size.

    The EPA found 54 cylinders of various flammable and specialty gases which were removed and returned to vendors.

    There also are mounds of dirt, which are potentially contaminated with PCBs or polychlorinated biphenyl, a cancer-causing agent.

    Project cleanup will cost another $1 million and with no funding in site, officials can’t say if or when Phase 2, the analysis and disposal, will begin.

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