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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Fisher Scientific in Bridgewater, New Jersey

On this page:

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

Cleanup Status

Investigation and remedial actions began at the Fisher facility in the 1980s. Based on the findings, Fisher installed an interceptor trench just south of the railroad unloading station to intercept and collect contaminated groundwater. Fisher excavated contaminated soil where it was accessible and then, installed an impermeable cap in the transfer area as an engineering control to prevent further groundwater contamination.

The cap consists of bituminous pavement, concrete walkways. Railcar and tanker truck off-loading areas were further encapsulated with a membrane cover over concrete that is flexible and specifically formulated to resist the effects of solvents handled on a daily basis in the transfer area. These containment structures capture, contain and control drippings and spills that may occur during transfer operations as well as surface runoff produced during storm events.

In 1984, Fisher conducted an in-depth hydrogeologic study in the vicinity of the site and found that domestic drinking water wells had been impacted. They then, arranged for affected residents in the neighborhood to be connected to the public water supply.  

In 1991, Fisher began operating a pump and treat groundwater recovery system to contain contamination in the regional groundwater aquifer. The system has achieved and maintained hydraulic control over the contaminated plume and is continuing to remove volatile organic compounds from the groundwater.

Groundwater quality will continue to be monitored semi-annually to demonstrate the effectiveness of the groundwater recovery system. A Groundwater Classification Exception Area (CEA) which extends across the transfer area to a small area immediately downgradient, south of the site was also established on April 26, 2000. The CEA will be utilized as an institutional control to restrict the use of groundwater as long it remains contaminated. Moreover, vapors originating from handling of pure volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the product lines are currently captured by fume hoods installed in the 1990 and vented to the regenerative thermal oxidizer for destruction.

Extensive health and safety air monitoring is also conducted on a routine basis for workers safety and OSHA compliance. In addition, it has been confirmed that there is no off-site vapor intrusion problem.

This is an operating facility and no changes are proposed for the current use of the site as a production facility. Fisher is currently meeting applicable health based requirements. EPA & New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) have determined that final remedy construction for the site have been implemented and therefore, site-wide remedies construction completed can be considered achieved.

However, should current use of the site change in the future, the existing remedial system will need to be evaluated for protectiveness of receptors under any new use scenario. In addition, at closure of the facility an assessment will be necessary to determine if any additional areas that are currently under the operating part of the facility and therefore, not accessible, require remediation. 

Site Description

The Fisher Scientific Packaging Facility is an operating facility located on approximately 58 acres in Bridgewater, New Jersey. The site is bounded to the north by Route 202. Most of the frontage on Route 202 is retail/commercial, but there are still small pockets of residential mixed within the business space. 

An active railroad line located south of the site with a residential community on the other side of the rail line. To the east, is a large Ortho Diagnostics laboratory and research facility and to the west is the former Olivetti (typewriters) manufacturing facility which was recently demolished and renovated as a manufacturing/warehouse complex. Fisher Scientific has owned and operated this facility since October 1, 1973. 

Current and historical production activities within the site involve the handling of large volumes of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in commercial concentrations which arrive in railcar and tanker truck quantities before repacking into small quantities for sale to research and development laboratories.

Contaminants at this Facility

In 1980, elevated concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were found in groundwater and in soil underlying the production facility and the transfer area, where railroad tanker cars and tractor trailer tanker trucks are unloaded into above ground storage tanks. For many years, Fisher spilled and leaked the contents of railcars and tanker trucks in the offloading area as a result of poor housekeeping practices. Primary contaminants of concern at the site are chlorinated solvents including chloroform, methylene chloride, carbon tetrachloride and TCE.

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.