Evacuation Plan Created for Howell After Potentially Hazardous Materials Found

The Howell Office of Emergency Management has developed a plan for evacuation and routes for those residing within a one-mile radius of the site where around 300 drums containing potentially hazardous materials were discovered last month, NJ.com reports.

The plan would be implemented in the event of an emergency related to the materials.

On February 9th, local crews were dispatched to the former Compounders Inc. site, situated at 15 Marl Road, and discovered materials burning in an old metal structure, according to a statement from the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Firefighters detected a chemical odor and discovered many drums and containers around the site after the fire was extinguished. The office of emergency management and the Monmouth County Department of Health were contacted, and it was discovered that between 200 and 300, 55-gallon drums and other containers were present, with many being labeled as hazardous materials.

It is unclear what was inside the drums and containers, but officials stated that the Compounders Inc. facility produced a variety of chemical compounds, including adhesives, glues, and asphalt materials until 2019. The current owner of the property, who remains unidentified, purchased the business as part of a stock sale in 2021.

According to authorities, many of the drums and containers were bulging, rusting, denting, or leaking, prompting the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the EPA to be called in for assistance. The front fence of the property was breached, and no other side of the property was secured by a fence, the EPA reported.

The site will be fenced around its perimeter, and samples will be taken from the drums and containers to determine their contents before the hazardous materials are removed under the supervision of the EPA. The organization is providing 24-hour security until the property can be properly secured.

“We are grateful to the EPA, NJDEP, and Monmouth County Department of Health for their swift responses to a call for assistance from Howell Township first responders,” Howell Township Manager Joseph A. Clark stated in a press release. “We anticipate cataloging and removing the materials as quickly as possible.”

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