Rounding Analytical Data to Determine Compliance with Remediation Standards

Rounding Analytical Data to Determine Compliance with Remediation Standards

COMPILED BY JOHN JOSEPH PARKER, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR

THE NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) has been receiving an increasing number of inquiries regarding rounding analytical data as a method to determine compliance with remediation standards. The NJDEP does not have an official policy regarding rounding as a method of compliance. It should also be noted that current laws and rules regarding remediation do not address rounding as a method of compliance.

The NJDEP has determined that this issue is best addressed by amending the “Technical Guidance for the Attainment of Remediation Standards and Site-Specific Criteria,” and will be reconvening the stakeholder committee to discuss the rounding issue.

Until the technical guidance is revised, rounding of analytical data should be handled in the following manner. For analytical data associated with Immediate Environmental Concern and Vapor Concern cases, rounding should not be conducted. This is consistent with a long-standing practice used by the Site Remediation and Waste Management Program (SRWMP) Immediate Concern Unit.

For all other analytical data, the LSRP, keeping in mind that highest priority in the performance of professional services shall be the protection of public health and safety and the environment, should use their independent professional judgment in determining if rounding of analytical data is appropriate. If analytical data are rounded, the technical justification for doing so must be contained in the appropriate document submittal.

Cleaning Up the Ringwood, NJ, Mines/Landfill Superfund Site

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) is proposing a cleanup plan to address ground water and mine water contamination at the Ringwood Mines/Landfill Superfund Site in Ringwood, New Jersey.

The USEPA’s proposed plan to address contaminants in ground water at the site provides for the installation of wells near the Peters Mine Pit and Peters Mine Pit Airshaft, perpendicular to the direction of ground water flow, to introduce an oxygen-releasing compound into the aquifer to enhance the breakdown of contaminants.

“The USEPA has been closely engaged with the community through public information sessions and Community Advisory Group meetings,” says USEPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “These critical engagements with community stakeholders have provided the USEPA with significant insight into the concerns of the local community, which will be considered by the USEPA as we work to select a final remedy for the site.”

The USEPA’s proposed plan also addresses contaminants in mine water in the Peters Mine Pit Airshaft by adding granular activated carbon and resin into the Peters Mine Pit Airshaft to treat contaminants. The Peters Mine Pit Airshaft would then be closed using conventional mine shaft closure technology. The specific technology will be determined during the design of the cleanup.

With these combined actions, the USEPA expects to address an ongoing source of ground water contamination and help the aquifer to recover. This plan also provides for long-term ground water and surface water monitoring to ensure the protection of drinking water resources.

Throughout the cleanup, the USEPA will monitor the progress and, after the remedy has been fully implemented, conduct a review of the cleanup at least every five years to ensure its effectiveness. Under the proposed plan, the estimated cost of cleanup is approximately $3.4 million.

The 500-acre Ringwood Mines/Landfill Site is in a historic iron mining district in the Borough of Ringwood, New Jersey. The site, which is in a forested area with about 50 private homes, includes abandoned mine shafts and pits, an inactive landfill and other disposal areas.

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, areas of the site were used to dispose of waste materials, including paint sludge and waste in drums, from Ford’s automobile assembly plant in Mahwah, New Jersey. Sampling of the paint sludge showed that it contained lead, arsenic, chromium and other contaminants.

The site was originally added to the Superfund list of hazardous waste sites in 1983. It was removed from the Superfund list in 1994 based on a finding that all appropriate cleanup actions had been taken. In 1995, 1998 and 2004, additional areas of paint sludge were discovered at the site, prompting further cleanup actions. The USEPA restored the site to the Superfund list in 2006 due to this discovery of additional contaminated materials.

Between 1984 and 1988, Ford, with USEPA oversight, conducted an investigation of the nature and extent of contamination at the site. Ford excavated and disposed of the paint sludge found, and monitored ground water and surface water on a long-term basis.

In 1987-1988, 7,000 cubic yards of paint sludge and soil were removed from the site. Approximately 600 cubic yards of paint sludge, and 54 intact and crushed drums were removed in 1990. Since December 2004, approximately 53,528 tons of additional paint sludge, drum remnants and associated soil from the Peter’s Mine Pit Area, the O’Connor Disposal Area and 16 other disposal areas within the site were removed and disposed of properly at permitted facilities.

The USEPA’s cleanup of the land- based contamination in three areas of the site is in the pre-construction phase. It contains the following elements to address contamination in three areas of the site:

Peter’s Mine Pit—Contaminated soil and material will be removed from the opening and the pit will be capped.

Cannon Mine Pit—The mine pit will be capped.

O’Connor Disposal Area—The area will be capped, and the Borough of Ringwood plans to build a recycling center on this area of the site.

Protecting America’s Vital Surface Waters

In commemoration of the USEPA’s 50th anniversary, the agency is celebrating progress that has been made in protecting America’s surface waters to improve these ecosystems and help protect public health.

“The USEPA is proud of the significant progress we have made in protecting and restoring our nation’s waters, particularly our surface waters,” says USEPA Assistant Administrator for Water Dave Ross. “Many of our lakes, rivers and streams that were once severely contaminated now support healthy aquatic ecosystems and the surrounding communities. Working with the agency’s federal, state, local, tribal and water sector partners, we continue driving progress that protects the environment and human health.”

The USEPA’s Hypoxia Task Force is a group of 12 states, a tribal representative and five federal agencies that work collaboratively to combat the nation’s largest hypoxic (low-oxygen) aquatic zone, which is located in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Reducing excess nutrients across a subcontinental watershed where millions of people live—and the land supports a prospering nation— is an enormous job that will take years to accomplish.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is making $17.5 million available in 2020 to support conservation investments by agriculture producers through its Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative, and more than $38 million to support producers in 300 small watersheds across the nation, including many watersheds in the Mississippi River Basin.

The USEPA welcomes USDA’s commitment to helping producers improve water quality, restore wetlands and enhance wildlife habitat, while ensuring the economic viability and productivity of agricultural lands.

Additionally, the USEPA houses a wide range of programs that are making progress protecting America’s surface waters. For example, the USEPA’s Section 319 Program has helped restore 832 impaired waterbodies, including helping to partially or fully restore 250,000 acres of lakes and ponds as well as 10,000 miles of rivers and streams, since 2005 by providing funds to states, tribes and territories to help address nonpoint sources of pollution.

Additionally, the USEPA’s National Estuary Program, with its partners, has protected and restored more than 2 million acres of estuary habitat since 2000. The agency has also helped restore approximately 4,316 acres of land and wetlands since 2013 through investing nearly $4.1 million into 193 community-based, Five-Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grant Program projects.

View all featured articles