EPA to provide clean water to affected residents

Homes near Mansfield Dump site to be helped

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  • Road leading to some of the residences affected by the Superfund site. Photo by Debra-Ann Kretschmer

BYRAM — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has finalized its decision to construct a water line to connect certain residents to a drinking water supply as part of the cleanup of the Mansfield Trail Dump Superfund site in Byram Township, N.J., according to the EPA.

According to its final cleanup plan, EPA will connect about 19 impacted properties to a water system. These residences currently use private wells with water treatment systems that were installed during the earlier stages of the cleanup of this site.

"The EPA is taking action to provide Byram residents with clean drinking over the long-term after they were impacted by the contamination from this Superfund site,” said Catherine McCabe, Acting Regional Administrator. “Protecting the residents of this community from the lingering threats of contaminated groundwater is our top priority.”

The Mansfield Trail Dump Superfund site is located near the intersection of the Mansfield bike path and Stanhope-Sparta Road. Sludge-like waste was dumped in trenches in the area and has contaminated the groundwater with volatile organic compounds, which are chemicals that easily become vapors or gases. The groundwater is used as a source of drinking water by all 19 impacted residences covered under the EPA’s water line construction proposal, and by a number of other area residents. Vapors from the contaminated groundwater underneath some area homes have seeped into basements. Sampling by the Sussex County Department of Health in 2005 identified trichloroethylene, an organic solvent used in industrial processes, in residential drinking water wells along Brookwood and Ross Roads in Byram Township. Exposure to contaminants found at the site can have serious health impacts, damage the liver, impair the nervous system or increase the risk of cancer.

Since 2005, carbon water filtration and treatment systems have been installed at impacted properties to remove contaminants from their drinking water. In addition, the New Jersey Department of

Environmental Protection installed systems to reduce the intrusion of chemical vapors into the basements of five of the homes that tested positive for air pollutants. In 2012, the EPA removed 11,700 tons of contaminated material from the dump areas. EPA has completed the first phase of the investigation into the nature and extent of the groundwater contamination, and evaluated various options for an alternative water supply.

EPA’s record of decision addresses the private drinking water wells impacted by groundwater contamination from the site by calling for a water line to be constructed to connect impacted residents to a permanent alternate water supply. Those residents who choose to be connected to the water line will then have their private wells taken out of service. While engineering plans are being developed and the new water line is constructed, carbon water filtration and treatment systems for the existing private wells will continue to be maintained and operated. Area groundwater will also continue to be monitored. If monitoring reveals any potential impacts to homes beyond the approximately 19 impacted homes, connections to those homes will be offered, as necessary. The next phase of the cleanup includes additional investigation of the site-wide contaminated groundwater, which will be addressed by the EPA in a future cleanup plan. The cost of this stage of the cleanup is estimated at $8.7 million.

The EPA held a public meeting in Byram Township on June 27, 2017 to explain its decision. The EPA accepted public comments for 30 days and considered public input before finalizing the plan. To read the EPA’s final decision, outlined in a record of decision, please visit: <URL destination="http://www.epa.gov/superfund/mansfield-trail ">www.epa.gov/superfund/mansfield-trail

</URL>The Superfund program is a cornerstone of the work that the EPA performs for citizens and communities across the country. On July 25, 2017 Administrator Pruitt accepted recommendations from the task force established on May 22, 2017 to revitalize the Superfund program. “My goal as Administrator is to restore the Superfund program to its rightful place at the center of the agency’s core mission.”

The task force’s recommendations focused on five overarching goals: expediting cleanup and remediation, reinvigorating cleanup and reuse efforts by potentially responsible parties, encouraging private investment to facilitate cleanup and reuse, promoting redevelopment and community revitalization and engaging with partners and stakeholders. Work to prioritize and reinvigorate the program by the task force has been initiated and will be ongoing into the future. The Superfund Task Force Recommendations can be viewed at www.epa.gov/superfund/superfund-task-force-recommendations.

Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter at www.twitter.com/eparegion2 and visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/eparegion2. Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter at www.twitter.com/eparegion2 and visit our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/eparegion2

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