EPA finalizes cleanup plans for contaminated Cornell-Dubilier site
As part of the agency’s Superfund program, which seeks to make the responsible polluters cover the costs for environmental cleanups, the Cornell-Dubilier site has already cost more than $180 million, and this fourth phase is expected to require an additional $242 million.
“This multi-million dollar cleanup will help restore the environment and protect public health in South Plainfield, NJ,” EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck said. “This toxic legacy is on its way to being addressed.”
PCBs mainly affect humans when they build up in fish and mammals, which are then consumed by people. These toxic chemicals were heavily used until a 1979 ban in reaction to health concerns, as it became apparent that they can affect the immune, reproductive, nervous and endocrine systems and can potentially cause cancer.
The previous phase of the cleanup plan focused on the nearby properties, the buildings and soil on the site itself and the site’s groundwater. The fourth phase is devoted to the Bound Brook and its flood plains, and will involve extensive dredging and excavation, including an area where PCB-contaminated capacitors have been buried.