WASHINGTON (CN) – It has taken more than 20 years and over $220 million, but two New Jersey sites have been removed from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund clean-up list.
The Montclair/West Orange and Glen Ridge Radium sites are spread over five residential communities of suburban Essex County in northeastern New Jersey, about 12 miles west of New York City. The sites cover approximately 250 acres and include 900 residential and 24 municipal properties.
The properties were contaminated by radioactive waste materials from a nearby radium-processing facility that operated in the early 1900s. When houses later were constructed in the area, some of the radium-contaminated soil was used as fill in the low-lying areas, and some was mixed with cement for sidewalks and foundations. More than 220,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil was scattered on public and private land in the densely populated residential communities.
After the sites were listed in 1984, New Jersey and the EPA installed radon systems and lead shielding to protect some residences from the radium, which was identified by high concentrations of radon gas. The EPA excavated contaminated soils from a total of 355 properties and restored the properties to their pre-excavation conditions.