|Leaking drums and containers can|
be a public health hazard.
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.
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