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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Hercules Incorporated in Parlin, New Jersey

On this page:

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

Cleanup Status

An investigation was conducted to delineate the extent of contamination to the soil, sediment, surface water, and groundwater at the site, since early 1990 under the oversight of NJDEP and EPA.

Numerous interim measures were implemented (and on-going) to address contamination at specific areas of contamination.  Hercules closed 3 underground storage tanks in the manufacturing areas (1993) and installed an underground wall around the on-site landfills, installed a cover system, and implemented a groundwater pump-and-treat system to prevent contamination (DDT) from migrating further (1997 through 2001).  A groundwater pump-and-treat system was installed to control the tertiary-butyl alcohol contamination plume.  A third groundwater pumping system was installed to control a carbon tetrachloride contamination plume (1996 – 2017).  The pumped groundwater is treated in an on-site wastewater treatment plant and then discharged to the public sewer authority.  Other remedial measures include, excavation of contaminated sediment from the brook (2004) and wetlands mitigation and restoration at two areas (2012).

Hercules completed the investigation of the site, which includes 78 areas of contamination and Green Tree lease hold after Green Tree left and prepared Remedial Investigation Report in 2016.  Hercules is preparing to develop corrective measures to address remaining areas of contamination at the site.  The groundwater pump and treat systems are expected to continue to control further migration of contaminated groundwater and the long-term groundwater monitoring program will continue to monitor the cleanup effectiveness and progress.

The land use and groundwater use at the site and the surrounding area will be restricted where contamination exceeds residential standards.  Institutional controls in the form of deed notices and engineering control (cover system) and establishment of a Classification Exception Area and well restrictions will be incorporated into the corrective action program.

Site Description

Hercules, Inc., is located at 50 South Minisink Avenue in Parlin, New Jersey. The plant started operations in the early 1900's at a 670-acre site adjacent to the Sayreville watershed. Its main product through the years has been nitrocellulose, which was used for making explosives. In the 1940's, Hercules manufactured the pesticide DDT, which resulted in the contamination of the soils in the manufacturing area and the sediments in a brook that runs through the site. Four unlined landfills were operated on-site and received various types of waste materials. These landfills have a combined area of about 10 acres.  There are 78 number of areas of concern with soil/sediment impacts in the site-wide corrective action program.  From 2000 to 2003, Hercules leased its Nitrocellulose operation and the land use at the facility to Green Tree.  After Green Tree left, Hercules conducted closure of the operation and investigated the contamination from the remaining units and impact to the leased land.

In late 2009, Hercules, Inc. was acquired by Ashland, Inc. as a wholly-owned subsidiary.

Contaminants at this Facility

Soil and groundwater has been contaminated from past releases from manufacturing activities, operation of the unlined landfills, and spills.  Soil contamination include, DDT, volatile organics (carbon tetrachloride, chloroform, methylene chloride, 1,1,2,2-tetrachloroethane, and trichloroethene).  Poly-chlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are also being investigated at an area of concern.  Groundwater is contaminated with tertiary-butyl alcohol and volatile organic compounds, including carbon tetrachloride and chloroform.

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.