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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Chevron Products Company - Division of Chevron USA Incorporated in Perth Amboy, New Jersey

On this page:

  • Cleanup Status
  • Site Description
  • Contaminants at this Facility
  • Site Responsibility

Cleanup Status

In the 1980s, after Chevron upgraded its wastewater management practices with the installation of an effluent treatment plant, it began closing surface impoundments and a landfarm. With EPA and NJDEP oversight, Chevron has completed the site-wide investigation pursuant to the RCRA permit and has implemented a number of interim measures to remove contaminated soil and some of the oily substances floating on the groundwater.  The site-wide investigation focused on delineation of soils and groundwater contamination, as well as the potential impacts on the surface water and sediment.  The RCRA Facility Investigation Report (RFI Report) was submitted on December 10, 2003 and the Supplemental RFI Report was submitted in February 2008.  These reports address Solid Waste Management Units (SWMUs) and Areas of Concern (AOCs) in the Main Yard, East Yard, and Central Yard. 
Based on the RFI results, a Corrective Measures Study (CMS), which includes a Corrective Action Management Unit (CAMU) Application, was submitted in early 2009. The focus of the CMS is to identify, evaluate, and propose corrective measures to address confirmed releases.  The final remedies for the entire facility have been selected, pursuant to the RCRA Corrective Action Permit renewal in 2013. The corrective action permit requires specific RCRA corrective measures at most of the 100 SWMUs and AOC’s identified. This involves various technologies such as in-situ treatment of soils and groundwater, electric resistance heating, on-site stabilization of contaminated soils, disposal of contaminated soils at the CAMU, and monitoring natural attenuation of low level contaminated groundwater. If necessary, additional and focused cleanups will be performed.  Restrictions will be imposed on future uses of the property and groundwater. In addition, construction and use of the CAMU was approved as part of the 2013 HSWA permit, where cell 1 began operations in September 2015 and Cell 2 expected to begin operations in the third quarter of 2017. Chevron has been on schedule in implementing the corrective measures on-site

Separately, a supplemental ecological evaluation was submitted on November 2016. The focus of this report was to re-examine Contaminants of Potential Environmental Concern (COPECs), address data gaps on Woodbridge Creek and Spa Spring Creek by collecting additional sediment samples and perform a sediment bathymetry at the confluence of Woodbridge Creek and the Arthur Kill. NJDEP submitted comments to the report on March 24, 2017, deeming the report deficient in addressing ecological receptors and pathways. Several meetings were held to discuss the NJDEP comment letter. During these discussions, Chevron raised concerns regarding the extent of the facility contribution to the contamination along all three waterbodies. Chevron argued that it had already investigated the waterbodies and any remediation would require a multi-party effort. Ultimately, Chevron agreed to conduct additional work along the waterbodies after a technical meeting was held. The facility will be submitting a Sampling Workplan in November 2018. Pursuant to the 2013 HSWA permit, a RFI is required for all 3 waterbodies. 

Both the groundwater and current human health Environmental Indicators (CA725 & CA750) have been achieved. During a site visit on March 27, 2017, Chevron provided EPA and NJDEP with a site-wide status update. Chevron is committed to achieving CA550 by 09/2020. 

Site Description

The Chevron Refinery is an active, 339-acre facility located in a heavily industrial area on the east side the city of Perth Amboy, Middlesex County, New Jersey.  The facility was built by the Barber Asphalt Company in 1920, who operated it as an asphalt Refinery.  The California Oil Company (which later became Chevron) purchased the property in 1946 and expanded the facility into a full-service refinery in 1950.  In 1983, Chevron shut down several process units and scaled back the refinery operation to asphalt production, which continues today.

The facility is bounded to the north and south by industrial properties and to the west by commercial and residential properties along Convery Boulevard (i.e., Route 35).  Amboy Avenue runs north-south through the western portion of the Refinery and State Street runs north-south through the eastern portion of the Refinery.  The site is bordered to the east by the Arthur Kill, which provides the Refinery with docking berths for tanker ships and barges.  Woodbridge Creek flows from the northwest to southeast through the northern portion of the Refinery.  Spa Spring Creek flows along the northern property boundary and discharges into Woodbridge Creek.  Groundwater at the facility is not used as a drinking water source, and some areas are saline due to naturally-occurring salt water intrusion.

The refinery has been divided into six major geographical areas referred to as Amboy Field, West Yard, Central Yard, North Field/Main Yard, East Yard, and North Field Extension (NFE). There are no operating RCRA-regulated units at the site. The current Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) permit issued by EPA and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) addresses monitoring of a closed unit and cleaned up of the entire site. 

Pursuant to a 1998 agreement among the City of Perth Amboy, Chevron and NJDEP, the cleanup of western portions of the site (West Yard and Amboy Field) were implemented to facilitate future development purposes. Amboy Field and West Yard were sold to the City of Perth Amboy and are being re-developed as commercial warehouses. The remaining refinery now consists of process areas, tank fields, an asphalt distribution terminal, offices, mechanical shops, wastewater treatment units, pipelines, and tanker docks. The North Field/Main Yard, East Yard, and North Field Extension (NFE), a vacant tract of land separated from the Refinery by Woodbridge Creek, has never been developed or used by Chevron for any industrial or commercial purposes.  A separate remedial investigation of the NFE will be addressed by prior owners of the NFE, to whom Chevron is selling this area. 

Contaminants at this Facility

The refinery operations and waste management at the site resulted in the contamination of both the soil and groundwater. Data show that the soil and groundwater are contaminated mainly with benzene, xylenes, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, arsenic, lead, beryllium and tetra ethyl lead.  In addition, light oily substances (such as crude oil and refined products) have been found in the groundwater at a number of locations.

Site Responsibility at this Facility

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Corrective Action activities at this facility have been conducted under the direction of EPA Region 2.