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HomeVoorhees NewsRemediation work related to Kirkwood Lake halted due to COVID-19

Remediation work related to Kirkwood Lake halted due to COVID-19

Temporary stoppage delays remediation of four residential properties in Voorhees

MATTHEW SHINKLE/The Sun

According to a release by Sherwin-Williams, cleanup efforts and field work related to the Sherwin-Williams/Hilliard’s Creek Site, the Route 561 Dump Site and the United States Avenue Burn Site in Gibbsboro have been temporarily suspended.

Kirkwood Lake, situated in Voorhees Township, lays downstream from the burn site and is heavily contaminated due to decades of paint dumping in the last century. The pause in work comes following the news that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 2 recommended a “pause in all field work, including remediation activities and site investigations, due to the uncertainty associated with the COVID-19 virus,” according to the release.

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During the stoppage in field activity, Sherwin-Williams is expected to still work on remediation designs and similar tasks remotely to keep the project moving forward.. According to the release, the company will complete remediation activities on a retail plaza along Route 561 associated with the Route 561 Dump Site. After that, the site will be secured and restoration activities postponed until further notice.

Transportation of contaminated soils to an EPA-approved landfill may continue, if necessary, according to the release.

Within Voorhees Township, Sherwin-Williams had delayed the start of remediation activities on four residential properties that was originally slated to begin in mid-April. According to its  release, the company expects to start that project later this summer.

“Given the congested conditions and logistical challenges working on the residential properties, Sherwin-Williams determined that postponing this remediation work was the prudent decision,” the release stated. “The company will continue to monitor the situation and plans to initiate work as soon as feasible, hopefully by mid to late summer.”

As for choosing its proposed plan for addressing the site’s large-scale cleanup, the EPA hosted a community forum this past December during a public comment period to receive input from nearby residents of the site on how it should be handled.

At that meeting, it was implied that Kirkwood Lake may not be addressed for another eight years under the proposed plan, as the EPA first focuses on Hilliard’s Creek and other bodies of water upstream. During the session, the EPA presented numerous treatment plans and presented its respective preferred alternatives for the burn site and the upper Hilliard’s Creek portion of the site.

For the burn site, the EPA currently proposes 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 Hilliard’s 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.

A Record of Decision is anticipated this spring on the cleanup methods the EPA will follow.

Project updates and additional information may be found at www.SWHilliardsCreek.com. Questions regarding the Sherwin-Williams/Hilliard’s Creek Site may be directed to Ray Klimcsak at klimcsak.raymond@epa.gov, while concerns with the Route 561 Dump Site may be directed to Renee Gelblat at gelblat.renee@epa.gov.

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