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  Site History and Background  

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Site History

Pre-1930s Aerial View of the Maywood Chemical Works The Maywood site includes residential, municipal, and commercial properties in the boroughs of Maywood and Lodi, and the Township of Rochelle Park, all located in Bergen County. The primary contaminant at the site is thorium-232, which originated from extraction processes involving monazite sands by the former Maywood Chemical Works between 1916 and 1959.

In 1959, Stepan Company purchased the Maywood Chemical Works, discontinuing all work with thorium. From 1963-l 968, under license from the Atomic Energy Commission, Stepan removed thorium wastes from properties adjacent to nearby State Route 17, burying the wastes on the Stepan property.

Radiological surveys in the area performed from 1980-1983 revealed the presence on many surrounding properties of radioactive materials at levels above state and federal guidelines. The site was added to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Priorities List in 1983 and was assigned by Congress to the Department of Energy (DOE) in 1984. DOE then placed the site in its Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program, known as FUSRAP.

Residentail cleanup activities in the 1980s In 1985, the federal government acquired an 11.7-acre portion of the Stepan property to store soils excavated from the vicinity properties until a suitable permanent storage site was identified. During the initial residential cleanups, approximately 35,000 cubic yards of soil were excavated and brought to the government-owned property, called the Maywood Interim Storage Site (MISS). At the time, there was no licensed disposal site for this type of material. Opposition by area residents and officials to further stockpiling of soil at MISS led the government in 1986 to halt further cleanups. Work with the community continued in an effort to reach a mutual understanding of the cleanup needs and challenges.

In 1992, the government completed a remedial investigation that defined the nature and extent of materials. In 1993, a baseline risk assessment was completed. In 1994, the government entered into a contract with Envirocare of Utah, which had obtained a license to dispose of the Maywood waste soils (as well as other waste in the FUSRAP program). Interim cleanup actions resumed in the fall of 1994 with the shipment of 5,000 cubic yards of soil to Envirocare of Utah.

The MISS pile in 1988 Pile removal resumed in the spring of 1995 and was completed during the winter of 1996. Radiological surveys at 25 residential vicinity properties were completed in March 1995. Cleanup of these properties began in fall 1995 and continued in 1996 with the cleanup of a total of 13 residential properties. During the 1996 work, three additional properties were found to contain some contaminated soil. These properties were cleaned up during the summer of 1997.

Current and Future Activities

Activities conducted at Maywood are being coordinated with EPA Region II and the State of New Jersey. A Federal Facilities Agreement between DOE and EPA defined the steps, responsibilities, and schedule for cleanup activities at Maywood. The activities are being performed through a combination of remedial investigation/feasibility studies and engineering evaluation/cost analyses. Pile excavation and shipment in 1995

Transfer of FUSRAP to the US Army Corps of Engineers

On October 13, 1997, President Clinton signed into law the FY 1998 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill. One of the provisions of this bill transferred the management of all FUSRAP sites to the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). This includes all actions in Maywood.

Following enactment of this bill, contracts for the current site management contractor, Bechtel National, Inc., and the environmental studies contractor, Science Applications International Corp., were assigned to USACE. While details of this transition are currently being worked out, all of the parties involved are committed to avoiding any delays and ensuring that cleanup activities proceed smoothly.

The site today after complete pile excavation The Corps has demonstrated expertise in executing similar environmental cleanups. Under the Superfund program and the Defense Environmental Restoration Program, the Corpí s New York District is already conducting remedial cleanups at hazardous waste sites throughout New York and New Jersey. Cleanup of FUSRAP sites will be modeled similarly to these ongoing activities, capitalizing on the technical capabilities that presently exist within the Corps.

November 1997

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