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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Wyeth Holdings, L.L.C. in Bridgewater, New Jersey

On this page:

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

Cleanup Status

Removal of pumpable tars from impoundments 1, 2, 4, and 5 for off-site use as a supplemental fuel has been completed. Four impoundments were excavated and lined and are now called Impound 8. Treated waste from several other impoundments is being disposed of in this unit, which is surrounded by wells that monitor groundwater quality.

The remaining impoundments have been delineated into three groups. The cleanup decisions for each of the groups are as follows:

  • Group I Impoundments
    The contents of two impoundments have been solidified with concrete to stabilize the waste from leaking and disposed of in Impound 8. This cleanup for the remaining two impoundments is not complete.
  • Group II Impoundments
    The contents of one impoundment was solidified with concrete and disposed of in Impound 8, two were covered by a synthetic cap and one with a natural cover, using trees and plants.
  • Group III Impoundments
    Several impoundments containing tars will be heat treated, using a low temperature process, others will utilize both low temperature treatment and treatment using organisms to digest the tars. The treated materials will be disposed into Impound 8. Other impoundments containing hazardous materials and general plant debris will be consolidated and disposed of into Impound 8.

The soils removal action program was completed in December 1992 addressing areas of soil contamination that posed a potential risk to worker health and safety. The program included excavation and off-site disposal of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)-contaminated soil, excavation and disposal of polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH)-contaminated soil, and the capping of another PAH-contaminated area. It also included the placement of a plastic cover, soil and grass over a chromium-contaminated area. These areas, except for one PAH area that was determined to be clean, will be revisited as part of the site-wide soil clean-up action program.

For the past 60 years, water has been withdrawn from the groundwater wells on the site for use in production operations. American Home Products continues to withdraw over 650,000 gallons per day, which results in groundwater flowing inward from the site boundary towards the pumping wells. This system effectively contains the majority of the groundwater contamination. The water that is pumped is used on-site before being discharged to the adjacent Somerset-Raritan Valley Sewerage Authority (SRVSA) wastewater facility for treatment. Any groundwater not captured by the well pumping system flows to the Raritan River. A study concluded that the facility did not have a significant impact on water quality in the Raritan River.

The area known as the "Hill Property" is approximately 140 acres. The Hill Property is separated by a road from the production area and consisted of a research laboratory and administrative buildings. The March 1992 baseline site-wide endangerment assessment report established that there is no current or future unacceptable risks to human health and the environment associated with the Hill Property. Based on this finding, no cleanup actions were required for the Hill Property soils. The Hill Property has been developed under the state's brownfields program, and now has a baseball stadium and stores.

Cleanup of the soils across the site will begin after completion of the cleanup of the 16 impoundments. A permanent groundwater cleanup plan will be addressed after the remediation of the soils. Potential contamination in surface water, sediment and associated wetlands related to the Cuckolds Brook and Raritan River is being independently addressed under the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) Natural Resource Assessment investigation program.

Site Description

Wyeth Holdings facility is located on East Main Street in Bridgewater, New Jersey. The site is approximately 435 acres and has been used for numerous chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing operations for over 75 years. In 1994, American Home Products (AHP) Corporation purchased American Cyanamid Company, which previously owned the site. The plant was shut down in 1999 and demolition of the plant buildings was completed by November 2000. In October 2009 Wyeth Holdings, L.L.C. became site’s new owner.

Contaminants at this Facility

The site's environmental threats include the contamination of soil, surface water, sediments and the shallow and deep aquifers. The contamination consists of organic compounds such as benzene, toluene, xylene, nitrobenzene, dichlorobenzene, naphthalene, and inorganics such as arsenic, barium, mercury and nickel. The main sources for the contamination of the site are 16 surface impoundments, which contain approximately 877,000 tons of waste material.

For purpose of the cleanup, the impoundments have been subdivided into three groups; Group I (impoundments 11, 13, 19 and 24), Group II (15, 16, 17, and 18), and Group III (1-5, 14, 20 and 26). In addition to the above 16 Superfund-led surface impoundments, there are other 4 impoundments (6, 7, 8, and 9A) requiring RCRA closure and post-closure. These impoundments contain tars and sludge since they were used to store by-products of the rubber chemical production, dye production, coal-tar distillation, as well as for disposal of general plant waste and demolition debris.

Site Responsibility at this Facility

In 1982, the entire Cyanamid facility was listed on the National Priorities List (NPL) of Superfund sites. The site cleanup activities had been addressed under an EPA hazardous waste permit and a 1988 New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) order, which included requirements to satisfy both the federal hazardous waste management program and Superfund. The facility RCRA permit expired March 31, 1999. In August 3, 2015 the site was referred to Superfund.