EPA Completes Cleanup of Abandoned Manufacturing Site in N.J.

The EPA has removed asbestos and hazardous materials at an abandoned manufacturing facility in Camden, N.J. EPA removed more than 400 drums, pails and other containers of hazardous chemicals including hexavalent chromium, perchloric acid, butanol, dichlorobenzene, hydrochloric acid and sulfuric acid. They were disposed of at an off-site licensed facility. EPA took action at the four-story building at 1700 Federal Street in Camden to reduce the risks to public health and safety because the hazardous chemicals found there had the potential to ignite, explode or be released into the air.

“EPA took decisive action to protect members of the community who live in close proximity to this abandoned manufacturing site,” said Judith A. Enck EPA Regional Administrator. “EPA removed containers of hazardous chemicals and old insulation that contained asbestos. The site is now secure and no longer a threat to people or the environment.”

EPA was notified about hazardous conditions at the former detergent and cleaning products manufacturing facility in August 2010 by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. The property is believed to be owned by the Concord Chemical, Inc. An investigation is underway to identify who is responsible for the cleanup of the chemicals left behind. EPA investigated the site and found a mix of acids, corrosives, asbestos, and other hazardous substances; signs of vandalism; and evidence of chemical spills and leaks on the floors and walls. The containers of hazardous chemicals were found in varying states of disrepair and neglect throughout the building. Many of the chemicals were volatile organic compounds, a group of chemicals that can damage health. Exposure to asbestos can lead to a debilitating lung disease called asbestosis, a rare cancer of the chest and abdominal lining called mesothelioma, and various other cancers.

All hazardous waste and substances were either secured or removed from the site and disposed of at facilities with permits to receive hazardous waste. Finally, the building was secured and the keys were transferred to the local fire deptartment.

EPA worked with the Camden Fire Department and with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Throughout the cleanup, the community was kept informed by the web, flyers, door to door outreach and a public meeting. The nearly $1 million cleanup began in August 2010 and was recently completed. EPA will pursue various parties to pay for the cleanup.

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