Sherwin-Williams will pay $14 million to clean up the site and pay the U.S. EPA’s expenses in overseeing the work
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a legal agreement with the Sherwin-Williams Co. to clean up lead and arsenic contaminated soil and sediment at the Route 561 Dump site in Gibbsboro, N.J. The site is near a former paint manufacturing plant and was used as a paint waste dump. The Route 561 Dump site includes businesses, a vacant lot, White Sand Branch creek, and wetlands. Sherwin-Williams will pay an estimated $14 million to clean up the site, and pay the EPA’s expenses in overseeing the work.
“This agreement allows us to move forward on this much needed cleanup of contaminated soil and sediment and to protect the health of people who live and work in this community,” said Catherine McCabe, Acting EPA regional administrator. “Cleanup of the Route 561 Dump Site is being paid for by Sherwin-Williams, not the taxpayers, which is an important feature of EPA’s site cleanup program.”
The soil and sediment cleanup at the Route 561 Dump site builds on previous work conducted at the site to address immediate risks. For this phase of cleanup, EPA will oversee the removal of contaminated soil and backfilling of excavated areas with clean soil. Contaminated soil will be properly disposed of at approved facilities that are licensed to handle the waste. In total, approximately 23,000 cu yd of contaminated soil will be removed.
Following excavation and backfilling, a soil cover will be placed over vegetated areas and an asphalt cap will be placed over portions of commercial properties. The remedy also requires excavation of contaminated sediment from White Sand Branch. EPA will coordinate with property owners and occupants to ensure that the work is done with minimal disruption. The EPA will monitor the air near work areas throughout the process to ensure the safety of workers and the surrounding community.
EPA is requiring that deed notices be placed on the land to inform the public and limit their exposure to contaminated soil. The EPA will conduct a review every five years to ensure the effectiveness of the cleanup.
The Route 561 Dump site, the Sherwin-Williams/Hilliard’s Creek Superfund site, and the United States Avenue Burn Superfund site are all sources of contaminated soil and sediment, which has spread onto a number of residential properties within Gibbsboro and Voorhees, N.J. Under previous orders by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the EPA, Sherwin-Williams has:
- removed 8,096 cu yd of sludge from a former lagoon area;
- removed 44,785 gal of liquid waste;
- installed a soil vapor extraction treatment system to reduce the volatile organic compounds in soil near two former plant buildings;
- installed fencing to limit access to some source areas; and
- started soil cleanup at residential properties, which is ongoing.
Lead is a neurotoxin and increasing amounts build up in the body. Even at low levels, lead in children can lower I.Q.s, cause learning disabilities, damage hearing, reduce attention spans, and cause hyperactivity and other behavior problems. Arsenic is toxic, can damage people’s health, and can cause cancer. This cleanup reduces the potential for harm to people’s health from coming into contact with, or accidentally ingesting, soil or creek sediment contaminated with lead and arsenic.
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 and it seeks to hold those parties accountable for the costs of investigations and cleanups.
EPA held a public meeting in Gibbsboro in June 2016 to take public comment on cleanup options for the Route 561 Dump site and EPA’s proposal. The cleanup plan was finalized by the EPA in September 2016.