Enforcement and Inspection, Environmental, Hazardous Waste Management

EPA and State of NJ Announce Proposed Superfund Settlement

The EPA recently announced a proposed settlement with PPG Industries, Inc., to design and perform a $15.8 million cleanup at the Riverside Industrial Park Superfund site on the bank of the Passaic River in Newark, New Jersey. Under the proposed settlement, the company will also pay the $2.9 million the EPA previously spent at the site and the Agency’s costs of overseeing PPG’s cleanup work.

The Riverside Industrial Park Superfund site is a 7.6-acre active industrial property located at 29 Riverside Avenue in Newark. From 1902 to 1971, the Patton Paint Company (which later became PPG Industries, Inc.) manufactured paint, resins, linseed oil, and varnish. From 1971 to the present day, the site was subdivided into 15 lots and has been used by many companies for a variety of businesses, from warehousing and packaging to chemical and cosmetics manufacturing. The soil and groundwater contamination are attributed to historic site operations, accidental spills, illegal dumping, improper handling of raw materials, and improper waste disposal.

In 2021, the EPA finalized a cleanup plan for the Superfund site—known as a Record of Decision—that includes a combination of cleanup technologies and other measures to address contaminated soil, soil gas, groundwater, sewer water, and waste at the site.

“This settlement marks important progress in our work to clean up the Riverside Industrial Park and our commitment to protect public health by reducing the potential exposure to toxic contamination,” said EPA Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia in an Agency news release. “Through EPA’s Superfund program, we will continue to hold accountable those responsible for the cleanup, not the taxpayers.”

The EPA cleanup plan for the site includes:

  • Excavating contaminated soil. Lead-contaminated soil and fill material around a former manufacturing building at the site will be removed and disposed of off-site. The bulkhead bordering the site along the river will be reinforced or reconstructed, and a site-wide cap will be constructed. To protect the cleanup measures, deed notices will be recorded and amended, and fencing will be maintained and enhanced, as appropriate, across the site.
  • Assessing vapors in the soil and the indoor air in occupied buildings on the site and, if needed, installing mitigation systems to protect people in those buildings from vapor intrusion. The EPA will require that special systems be installed in any buildings constructed in the future to protect occupants. The EPA will establish site-wide deed notices and appropriate restrictions on property use.
  • Groundwater will be monitored to evaluate changes in groundwater contamination after other components of the remedy are implemented. The EPA will also require groundwater use to be restricted.
  • Removing sewer water and solids from an inactive sewer line and transferring it into appropriate containers for off-site treatment and disposal. The sewer line will be closed.
  • Transferring waste from underground storage tanks (USTs), contaminated soil surrounding the USTs, and various waste found across the site into appropriate containers for off-site treatment and disposal.

The proposed agreement also calls for PPG to reimburse the approximately $117,000 previously spent by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) for the site.

The proposed consent decree, lodged in the U.S. federal district court for the district of New Jersey, is subject to a 60-day public comment period once notice is published in the Federal Register and New Jersey Register. At the close of the comment period on June 17, 2024, the federal government and the State of New Jersey will evaluate the comments and decide whether to proceed and then, if appropriate, seek final approval by the court.


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