Clean-up efforts far off

By ROBERT LINNEHAN | The Voorhees Sun

Committee members said they were dismayed last week to find that cleanup efforts for the nearby Paint Works facility in the borough of Gibbsboro were far off.

Environmental Protection Agency representatives told the committee that a complete cleanup of the contaminated Paint Works facility is about 10 years away.

Owner Sherwin-Williams shut down the nearby facility in 1978 after serving as a paint factory in the borough since 1852, when it was originally created by John Lucas and his father Joseph Foster.

It was called Lucas Paint Factory and was sold to Sherwin-Williams in 1930.

Township Administrator Larry Spellman said the site has long been contaminated from its many years of paint production and the EPA has been researching and monitoring the land for several years.

It has tested the area for contaminants, formulated a plan, and is now planning to monitor the area closer for a few more years before a cleanup is attempted, he said.

“As I understand, it was an old paint factory in Gibbsboro. The downtown was quite a thriving area and it was all owned by Sherwin-Williams,” Spellman said. “It went out of business and people didn’t know back then how dangerous some of that paint could be.

“They dumped all the lead, some other contaminants into the creek. Here we are still talking about it years later.”

The pollutants extend into Kirkwood Lake, Spellman said, so township representatives have long pushed the EPA and Sherwin-Williams to clean up the site as quickly as possible.

Committee Member Harry Platt said the presentation was disappointing, as the EPA has been working at the site for many years.

“We’re a little upset about the time frame. We’ve been working on this for 20 years before it’s going to be mediated. I know with my own personal experience with the Buzby Landfill, it takes a long time,” he said. “They’re doing everything they can, but I wish they’d show some urgency because of the level of contamination we’re dealing with here.”

Spellman said the township would keep pushing the EPA to accelerate their plans and keep Voorhees informed of the clean-up process.