VINELAND — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing a $36 million cleanup of about 40 nonresidential properties contaminated by the former pesticide manufacturer Kil-Tone Co.
There is a meeting Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at Gloria M Sabater Elementary School in Vineland, where residents can hear details and ask questions.
The agency wants to remove about 57,800 cubic yards of soil in and around the plant site at 527 E. Chestnut Avenue, with the extent of excavation and cleanup for each property depending on conditions. The properties are between Almond Street and Washington Avenue.
Excavated soil would be sent off-site for disposal and the properties would be restored, according to the EPA.
It is the second phase of a four-phase plan to deal with contaminated soil and groundwater. In phase one in 2016, the EPA began removing contaminated soil down to six feet in depth from 60 residential properties. That work is ongoing.
The company contaminated the soil with arsenic and lead from 1917 to 1926, and the Lucas Kil-Tone Co. may have continued making pesticides there until at least 1933, according to the EPA. It is now occupied by an unrelated and active sign-making business, and is a federal Superfund site.
“They are still dealing with the historic legacy of toxic pollution,” said New Jersey Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel. “I think EPA is going in the right direction. It’s long overdue, but at least they are moving forward and getting things done.”
New Jersey agencies did little to clean up the site for many decades, Tittel said, and it was added as a federal Superfund Site in 2016.
This phase will cover about 26.5 acres, according to the agency. The EPA will conduct a review of the cleanup every five years to ensure its effectiveness.
Properties in which contamination extends into groundwater will be addressed later in Phase 3, the EPA said, after further assessments are made.
The fourth phase covers the Tarkiln Branch of the Maurice River and residential properties that are within floodplain areas and that have arsenic and or lead contamination from the Kil-Tone property.
Neighbors in 2015 were told by the EPA not to allow their children to play near the four-acre facility. Arsenic causes cancer, among other health problems, while lead is a toxic metal that can damage a child’s ability to learn.
The EPA says it conducted soil and groundwater samples between September 2017 and March 2018. Soil samples at adjacent and nearby properties showed concentrations of arsenic up to 15,900 mg/kg and lead up to 16,100 mg/kg. New Jersey’s standard levels are 19 mg/kg for arsenic and 800 ppmm for lead.
Kil-Tone is one of two active Superfund sites in Vineland. The other is Vineland Chemical at 1611 W. Wheat Road, where arsenic pollution made its way into the Blackwater Branch of the Maurice River.
Other sites in the region are in a long-term monitoring phase, and no physical work is being done.
There will be a meeting 7 p.m. Tuesday to take public comments on the plans, at the Gloria M Sabater Elementary School, 301 So. East Blvd.
Written comments on the EPA’s proposed plan may be mailed or emailed to Sharon Hartzell, Remedial Project Manager, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 290 Broadway, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10007; email: firstname.lastname@example.org