The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing a change to its plan to address groundwater contamination at the Imperial Oil Superfund Site in Morganville. Data collected since the original cleanup plan was selected in 1992 indicate that natural processes are effectively reducing the levels of contaminants and that active treatment of the groundwater is not needed. As a result, the agency plans to rely on natural processes to address the groundwater rather than extract and treat the groundwater as the original decision stated. Throughout the cleanup, monitoring and further studies will be conducted to ensure the effectiveness of the remedy.
“We are glad to see that the groundwater data collected over the last nine years, suggest that our previous cleanup actions were effective and contaminant levels are continuing to decrease,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “Under the Superfund program, our work here is reaping benefits and today the site is populated with trees, grass, restored wetlands, a pond and a bike path.”
The Imperial Oil facility, located in the Morganville section of Marlboro Township, operated from the 1950s until 2007. Improper work practices and piles of waste from oil reclamation activities contaminated soil and sediment on the plant property, in adjacent wetlands, the nearby Birch Swamp Brook and on several residential properties. Groundwater underlying the site was also contaminated.
The site cleanup was originally overseen by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP). The NJDEP excavated soil, cleaned up part of the wetlands and sediment in the brook and removed oil that was floating underneath the ground and on top of the groundwater.
The EPA took over the cleanup of the property in 2006 at NJDEP’s request. In 2008, the EPA completed the demolition of structures on the site, including all production, storage and maintenance buildings, as well as above-ground tanks.
In 2011, the EPA completed the excavation of the soil and the restoration of the industrial property. The excavated property areas were seeded and restored along with the restoration of the wetlands. In 2013, EPA completed the cleanup of the remaining wetlands and contaminated sediments in Birch Swamp Brook.
As part of today’s announced plan, EPA is requiring periodic collection and analysis of groundwater samples to verify that the level and extent of contaminants are declining, and that people’s health and the environment are protected. The EPA will conduct a review within 5 years to ensure the effectiveness of the cleanup.
A 30-day public comment period for the proposed plan will occur from July 28, 2020 until August 28, 2020. EPA will host a Virtual Public Meeting on August 11, 6:00 p.m. To register for the public meeting go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/imperial-oil-virtual-public-meeting-tickets-114604428932
For more information about the meeting, please contact the Community Involvement Coordinator Pat Seppi at Seppi.Pat@epa.gov, (212) 637-3679.
Written comments on EPA's proposed plan may be mailed or emailed to Renee Gelblat, Remedial Project Manager, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 290 Broadway, 19th Floor, New York, New York 10007-1866 or Gelblat.Renee@epa.gov. Comments postmarked on or before August 28, 2020 will be accepted.
The EPA's proposed plan for the site will be made available at www.epa.gov/superfund/imperial-oil.