Toxic Chemicals Found In Howell Could Take 8 Months To Remove

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is overseeing the sampling and removal of over 400 drums and 1000 small containers found at the former Compounders, Inc. site in Howell Township.

The EPA and its contractors are opening, identifying, and then characterizing the contents of each container and drum at the site to ensure that they are properly handled before they are removed. EPA is labeling and staging the drums of chemicals for testing and disposal.

If a drum or container does not meet the Department of Transportation’s standards to allow for shipping off-site, EPA will move its contents to a new, suitable container. The drums and containers are staged on a plastic-lined containment area to prevent spills or leaks while disposal is coordinated.

EPA will continue its work until all the materials at the site have been assessed and secured to be taken away, which is expected to take approximately 6 to 8 months

EPA is coordinating with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to investigate the site and evaluate the soil and groundwater conditions after the drums are removed.

EPA is also monitoring the air for particulate matter and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). At this time, EPA has not had any alarms exceeding EPA’s harmful levels.

On site, EPA has also placed a water tank to provide dust suppression activities if monitors indicate elevated levels. If VOCs are detected, EPA will identify what the source is and mitigate it. If EPA determines throughout the cleanup that these sensors are not capable of monitoring for a substance discovered on site, EPA will adjust the air monitoring plan as necessary.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are organic chemical compounds that can easily evaporate in air and commonly used in industries as solvents to remove oils and grease.

Particulate Matter (PM) is a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air. Some particles, such as dust, dirt, soot, or smoke, are large or dark enough to be seen with the naked eye while others are very small. Most particles form as a result of complex reactions of chemicals.

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