About 45 residents and activists attended the EPA information meeting about the planned test of methods to clean contaminants in two ponds at the American Cyanamid site, Thursday night at the municipal complex.
And while the meeting was about the plans for the testing which will be conducted between December and March, most residents' questions concerned the EPA's plans for the final cleanup of the ponds—and the site.
The 575-acre American Cyanamid site was the company's headquarters and manufacturing base from 1915 until it was added to the lists of Superfund sites in 1983. Part of the site has been cleaned and removed from the Superfund list, and was redeveloped with the Bridgewater Promenade and TD Bank Ballpark. Contamination on much of the remaining land is primarily in groundwater, which is being remediated through a special water treatment system, but a sticky, acidic and sulfurous tar goop at the bottom of two ponds has proven problematic.
If the tests, which would clean the material by heating it or adding cement and other compounds to it inside of sealed caissons, are successful, a method of applying the technology will have to be determined.
Residents asked how the larger cleanup would be done—but Dakon Brodmerkel, of the engineering firm CH2M Hill, said they won't know how to go about constructing a larger method of cleaning the contaminant until the results of the testing are in.
Several also questioned the timing of the tests over the winter months, but Brodmerkel said the winter months should minimize problems from severe weather.