Cleanup at Bog Creek set to begin


Staff Writer

HOWELL — Soil excavation at Bog Creek Farm, a federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund site, is scheduled to begin this week. According to Don Graham, the EPA’s on-site coordinator, the work is expected to take about a year to complete.

Bog Creek Farm is on Route 547 in the southern end of Howell. Contamination of the 12-acre site was due to the on-site dumping in the early 1970s of various wastes including organic solvents, paint residues, lacquer thinners, animal carcasses and residential debris.

According to the EPA, its field investigations at the site in the early 1980s resulted in a limited cleanup that was done by the property owner.

Today the site is bordered by two residences on the western side of the property and open fields to the south and east. A community update issued by the EPA acknowledges there are several farms nearby where people are raising horses, nursery stock, vegetables, flowers, grain and sod.

Graham said he has already apprised those living and working in close proximity to the site that they will likely smell a petroleum odor while the work is being done. He said weather changes and conditions will likely affect the intensity of the odors.

Graham said special sprays will be used during the course of the excavation that will hopefully work to ameliorate the petroleum odor. He said air monitoring instruments will be employed to help keep officials apprised of the air quality in the area.

Graham will be on-site throughout the course of the project. He said he welcomes any members of the community who want to come to him with questions or concerns related to the cleanup of the property. He said the cost for this phase of the cleanup is expected to total $5 million. He did not have a total cost for the cleanup effort that began in 1989.

According to a press release, Bog Creek Farm was added to the federal Superfund list of toxic sites nationwide in 1983.

In 1985, the government issued its first Record of Decision (ROD) for the site to address the remaining waste and

contaminated soil. That ROD called for the removal of waste water and sediments from the pond and the bog and then the treatment of the site-generated water. It also called for the incineration of certain contaminated excavated soil. That work was completed in the fall of 1990.

The second ROD for the site, issued in 1989, resulted in actual treatment with the installation of a below-ground grout curtain wall, with ground water extraction, treatment and reinjection in order to restore the Upper Kirkwood aquifer to site-specific cleanup levels.

The ground water treatment system was constructed in 1993. The resulting ground water treatment plant began operation in August 1994.

To date, 15,000 cubic yards of soil have been excavated and incinerated and one million gallons per month of contaminated ground water have been treated on-site.

This round of the Bog Creek Farm cleanup is expected to yield 21,000 cubic yards of soil.

Graham said any contaminated soil that needs to be removed from the site will be trucked away on Interstate 195 to the New Jersey Turnpike.

When the excavation is completed, he said, the site will be backfilled in order to fully restore the property to its original grading.

A public meeting will likely be held in September in order to address ground water studies that are presently under way.

Those seeking more information may call Don Graham at (732) 321-4345, or Pat Seppi, the EPA’s community involvement coordinator, at (212) 637-3679.

Additional information on the federal Superfund process may be obtained at the Internet Web site