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Superior Barrel & Drum
Elk Township, New Jersey

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Sophia Kelley – (212) 637-3670
Kelley.jessicasophia@epa.gov

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The Superior Barrel and Drum Site is a 5.5-acre property located in Elk Township, Gloucester County, New Jersey. The EPA was asked by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to evaluate the facility on August 30, 2013 due to conditions at the site including the presence of more than two thousand chemical containers, mostly 275-gallon totes and 55-gallon drums, some of which were observed to be deteriorated and leaking their contents onto the ground. Superior Barrel and Drum is listed as a drum reconditioning business. These facilities typically clean and recondition metal and plastic drums for resale, reuse, or disposal. Containers were found to be leaking, exposed to weather elements, rusted, damaged due to gunshots, stored improperly, and laying on their sides. The containers throughout the site appeared to be full of contents, however most did not have labels.

The property includes a main processing building and numerous trailers and is partially located in a federally protected wetland. Jacob Harris Lane marks the eastern boundary of the site, beyond which is a densely forested property. To the south are private lands which are also densely wooded with several marshy areas. The western boundary is State Route 55, a major highway, and to the north of the site are various small industrial companies. The facility is currently inoperable with last known activity occurring in 2012.

The site consists of two operational areas. The main area is approximately 2.4 acres and includes a permanent steel structure and containers located throughout. This area would receive containers, rinse the containers, and recondition them for future market. The second operational area appears to be mainly for storage of full 275-gallon totes and 55-gallon drums, with several trailers holding containers. This area encompasses approximately .32 acres of land. Both areas show signs of leaking containers or dumping of materials.

The EPA has been coordinating with the Gloucester County Fire Marshal’s Office, Gloucester County HazMat Team, NJDEP, Elk Township Mayor’s Office, and local police and fire departments to thoroughly investigate the site and remove hazardous materials. A preliminary assessment was completed on September 27, 2013. During the assessment, approximately 250 containers were opened and investigated. Results indicated that hazardous substances, such as volatile organic compounds, heavy metals, and other contaminants were located within numerous containers. The EPA field tested over 50 percent of these containers and found many of the contents to be flammable, corrosive, or containing other hazardous characteristics. To prevent material from migrating off the facility’s property, the EPA installed protective barriers around the drums and other containers. In addition, fencing was placed along the site where it borders the public road to prevent the community from coming into contact with containers or hazardous materials.

Hand-held air monitoring equipment is utilized whenever containers are inspected, opened, or sampled. Air monitoring stations have been established in seven locations around the perimeter and in various work zones. Security guards are posted near the entrance to the facility in order to discourage the public from entering the work areas. In addition to container sampling, the EPA also collected preliminary surface soil and surface water samples. Results indicate contamination may be restricted to small areas, but additional investigation will be conducted.

Weekly Progress Update for the week of April 14 through April 20, 2014:

Removal of waste continued during the operational period with multiple load-outs throughout the week. Approximately 14,000 gallons of waste from 129 containers was sent to disposal facilities during the reporting period. This completes the removal of all waste identified under subcontract 2.

The EPA continued to work with numerous partners including the Gloucester County Fire Marshal’s Office, HazMat Team, NJDEP, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and local officials. NJDEP personnel continued weekly visitations and communication with Elk Township officials also continued. Security personnel continued to patrol the site during non-operational hours. 


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