DESCRIPTION: The Middlesex Sampling Plant is located at 239 Mountain Avenue in Middlesex, New Jersey. The facility, which includes several buildings on 9.6 acres, was an entry point for African uranium ores known as pitchblende. These ores, imported for use in the nation’s early atomic energy program, were assayed at the Middlesex Sampling Plant and then shipped to other sites for processing. The site received uranium, thorium and beryllium ores from the 1940s until 1967, at which time the facility was decontaminated to the standards in effect at the time. However, overlooked during decontamination were traces of radioactive materials that had been carried offsite over the years by wind and rain to yards of neighboring homes. Also, records later revealed that in 1948, some radioactively contaminated materials had been trucked from the plant to the Middlesex Municipal Landfill (MML), one-half mile away. In the 1980’s, the contaminated residential properties were cleaned up, and the excavated soil was stored at the site in a specially constructed pile, known as the Vicinity Properties (VP) pile. Also in the 1980’s, the contaminated materials disposed of at the MML were excavated, brought back to the site and stored in a specially constructed pile, known as the MML pile. In 1997, the contaminated process building was demolished, and the steel stockpiled for recycling. In 1998 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) recycled and disposed of the stockpiled steel. In addition, USACE disposed of 33,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil contained within the MML pile. In 1999, USACE prepared an Engineering Evaluation/Cost Analysis (EE/CA) to address the VP pile remaining at the site. Between August 1999 and November 1999, USACE disposed of 35,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil contained within the VP pile. A Record of Decision (ROD) for Soils was signed September 2005. Remedial Action in accordance with this ROD was completed in FY08 which resulted in removal of more than 45,000 cubic yards of contaminated soils and materials.
AUTHORIZATION/PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The site is being addressed under the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP). The Fiscal Year 1998 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill, transferred management of the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP) to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), when it was signed into law on October 13, 1997. FUSRAP was created in 1974 to clean up sites where work was performed during the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s as part of the nation's early atomic energy program. Most of those contaminated sites were cleaned up under the guidelines in effect at the time, which were not as strict as today’s standards in most cases.
STATUS: Radiologic contamination was identified at a property located at 305 Bound Brook and the property was referred to USACE for additional investigation by the US Department of Energy (DOE). Based on sample results and site reconnaissance, the USACE implemented a time critical removal that involved excavating contaminated soils from the rear portion of the property to remove the potential for migration of contaminants. In 2021, the USACE conducted a fly-over gamma survey of a two-mile radius surrounding the MSP site to identify if other properties could contain contaminated soils beyond the radius of a survey completed by DOE in 1980. The results of this survey are being used to support additional ground-based investigations and is ongoing through Fiscal Year 2023.
The Operable Unit 2 Groundwater Record of Decision was signed in September 2021 with the chosen remedy of treating groundwater contaminated with volatile organic compounds at the source area on the MSP site and utilizing monitored natural attenuation beyond the source area. The USACE has completed work plans to conduct a pilot study to determine optimal treatment options and a preliminary design investigation to support the remedial design to address contaminated groundwater.
MSP OU1 Soils Record of Decision
MSP OU1 Soils Post Remedial Action Report
MSP OU2 GW Remedial Investigation Report
MSP OU2 GW Feasibility Study
MSP OU2 GW Proposed Plan
MSP OU2 GW Project Status Summary Sheet
MSP OU2 GW Public Comment Sheet
MSP OU2 Groundwater Investigation Technical Memo
MSP OU2 GW Record of Decision
Dan Kennedy, P.G.
Phone: (917) 275-3373
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District
Programs and Project Management Division
26 Federal Plaza
New York, NY 10278