HomeVoorhees NewsKirkwood Lake cleanup may not be addressed for eight years

Kirkwood Lake cleanup may not be addressed for eight years

EPA representatives meet in Gibbsboro to discuss Superfund Site

Representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) met in Gibbsboro Dec. 5 to discuss Operable Unit 2, the next phase of the cleanup regarding the Sherwin-Williams/Hilliards Creek Superfund Site.

Hilliards Creek flows into Kirkwood Lake in Voorhees Township. According to EPA officials, it is estimated Kirkwood will potentially not be addressed for another eight years as cleanup efforts are focused upstream along Hilliards. The latter funnels into various other bodies of water, such as Kirkwood and Silver lakes.

- Advertisement -

Approximately 1,000 people live within a quarter-mile of the Superfund sites, according to the EPA consent decree. The Sun previously reported that a consent degree was finalized this past summer with The Sherwin-Williams Company “to remove lead and arsenic contaminated soil and sediment at the United States Burn Superfund Site in Gibbsboro,” according to an EPA release. An engineering design of the site is currently ongoing.

Per the decree, Sherwin-Williams was to pay an estimated $21 million to clean up the United States Burn Superfund Site, with an additional $1.5 million toward the reimbursement of past EPA response costs associated with the three sites, according to the agency release.

At the December meeting, the EPA presented its proposed plans on how to address two separate portions of the Superfund sites, one being the actual burn site and the other the upper portion of Hilliards Creek. Those attending the meeting included Gibbsboro and Voorhees township officials, Camden County officials, concerned residents and others.

After reviewing the history and current status of the sites, Remedial Project Manager Ray Klimcsak presented the EPA’s preferred alternatives to deal with the two sites during Operable Unit 2.

For the burn site, the EPA is currently proposing Soil Alternative 4, which includes “excavation, capping, off-site disposal of soil and bio-remediation of the [groundwater contaminant] LNAPL,” according to the Superfund Proposed Plan. Such an option would require the removal of approximately 67,000 cubic yards of soil, with a construction time frame of two and a half years. The estimated cost of the project is $35 million.

For the upper Hilliards Creek portion of the site, the EPA proposes Sediment Alternative 3, which includes the excavation of sediment with elevated contaminant levels. The excavation depths range from 2 to 7 feet deep, with an estimated 1,400 cubic yards of sediment to be removed. The estimated cost is $1.8 million.

According to Klimcsak, the Record of Decision regarding the preferred alternatives will not be selected until late spring or early summer 2020, with work beginning in approximately two years to allow time for design of the selected alternatives.

After plans are finalized for Operable Unit 2, discussions will begin for Operable Unit 3, which would attempt to select remediation methods for the bodies of water below upper Hilliards Creek, including Kirkwood Lake. But according the Klimcsak, it is estimated work might not start for eight years.

“We work from upstream to downstream … so the proposed plan from tonight for the water bodies is hopefully coming out in 2020,” said Julie Nace, remedial project manager for Operable Unit 3. “It could be potentially eight years before we get all the way down to Kirkwood Lake.”

During the meeting, concerned residents questioned the EPA’s decision to excavate and remediate soil this past summer at residences on Stevens Drive in Voorhees Township along Kirkwood Lake. According to multiple EPA representatives at the meeting, the lake itself will not be addressed for possibly another eight years.

Residents pointed out that their backyards flood frequently during the year from Kirkwood Lake overflowing, and they worry that recontamination could occur over the next few years. EPA officials stated that the contaminant in Kirkwood Lake sits at the bottom of the lake and that recontamination studies should not present a danger to the residents.

“The upland soil portion of [those properties] are clean,” Klimcsak noted. “The properties  along Stevens Drive are unique in that the property lines do extend into a portion of Hilliards Creek, and we do point out that there would not be sediments contaminated in there that would not be addressed until a later time.”

The public comment period for the EPA to accept written comments on the Proposed Plans will end Dec. 30. Written statements can be sent to Klimcsak.raymond@epa.gov regarding the potential plans that the EPA chooses between the two sites.

The online PDF of the Superfund Proposed Plan can be found here.


Stay Connected

- Advertisment -

Current Issue