Wednesday, October 2, 2013

EPA to act on leaking containers at New Jersey facility

EPA obtains warrant to address over 1000 drums and containers at New Jersey facility; Ongoing investigation reveals presence of hazardous materials

Leaking drums and containers can
be a public health hazard.
(New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has obtained a federal warrant to do the necessary cleanup work at the Superior Barrel & Drum company facility in Elk Township, New Jersey, where more than a thousand unlabeled or improperly labeled drums and other containers have been left in a state of disrepair.

Many of the drums are leaking their contents onto the ground and are exposed to wind and rain.

The EPA and the NJDEP are currently investigating the drums and containers at the site under a warrant that was previously issued by a federal judge when the facility owner refused to give the EPA access to the facility.

The EPA is working with Elk Township, the local fire and police departments and the NJDEP on the investigation and cleanup of the facility.

The EPA is currently evaluating what substances are present in the drums and containers and assessing whether they could cause a chemical release or fire. The site is partially in a federally protected wetland.

Hazardous materials can cause health issues

The EPA began its investigation on August 30, 2013. Field tests indicate that some drums contain hazardous materials, including corrosive and flammable chemicals.

The preliminary results of samples sent to the laboratory show the presence of volatile organic compounds such as benzene and other hazardous substances such as lead.

Exposure to these pollutants can have serious health effects. Benzene is known to cause cancer and lead is a toxic metal that is especially dangerous to children because their growing bodies can absorb more of it than adults. Lead in children can result in I.Q. deficiencies, reading and learning disabilities, reduced attention spans, hyperactivity and other behavioral problems.

The EPA is continuing to sample the contents of containers and drums at the site. The first set of final laboratory data is expected in the next few weeks. The EPA has secured the facility by installing fencing, warning signs and round the clock surveillance.

Once it completes its investigation, the EPA will work with state and local agencies to take appropriate steps to remove the hazardous waste and protect the public.

For photos and information about the EPA’s work at the Superior Barrel & Drum site, click here.

Worried about soil vapor intrusion and chemical exposure? Electrocorp has worked with environmental consultants and experts and has designed a variety of highly efficient air cleaners that can remove airborne chemicals such as benzene and volatile organic compounds. Contact Electrocorp and ask about air cleaners with activated carbon filters. 

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