EPA Finalizes $14M Plan to Clean Soil at Former Sherwin-Williams Plant Site

September 30, 2015

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said Wednesday that it has finalized a $14 million plan to clean up contaminated soil from homes at the Sherwin-Williams/Hilliards Creek Superfund site in Gibbsboro and Voorhees, New Jersey.

The EPA’s decision calls for the removal of contaminated soil from approximately 33 residential properties in Gibbsboro and Voorhees. The soil will be dug up and disposed of at facilities licensed to handle the waste. The dug-up areas will be backfilled with clean soil, replanted with vegetation, if needed, and restored.

The EPA said additional properties could require a cleanup. The agency will determine the exact number of residential properties that would need soil remediation after additional sampling during the design phase of the project.

The EPA said 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, the agency said. Sediment around Hilliards Creek are contaminated with lead and arsenic.

The EPA said lead exposure can have serious, long-term health consequences. 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.

“Lead is a potent 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 A. Enck. “It is imperative that the toxic contamination at this site and at homes is addressed to protect people’s health.”

The Superfund program operates on the principle that polluters should pay for the cleanups, rather than passing the costs to taxpayers. The EPA looks for parties legally responsible for the contamination at sites that are placed on the Superfund list and the agency seeks to hold those parties accountable for the costs of investigations and cleanups. The EPA anticipates the $14 million soil cleanup will be conducted and paid for by any such party with oversight by the EPA.

Source: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

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