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 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 Corps of Engineers recycled and disposed of the stockpiled steel. In addition the Corps disposed of 33,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil contained within the (MML) pile. In 1999, the Corps prepared an Engineering Evaluation/Cost Analysis (EE/CA) to address the Vicinity Property (VP) pile remaining at the site. Between August 1999 and November 1999, the Corps 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.
USACE’s responsibilities for the site have been defined in a negotiated Federal Facilities Agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), effective Dec 2009. The Corps continues to monitor the air, groundwater, surface water and sediments to ensure that measures being taken to contain the contamination are working. Final cleanup of the contaminated ground water will be addressed in a separate action.
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: The Operable Unit 2 Groundwater Record of Decision was signed in September 2021 and the USACE is currently in the planning stages to complete a pilot study to determine optimal treatment options, a preliminary design investigation, and a remedial design to address contaminated groundwater. The USACE is also performing a review of vicinity properties to determine if additional investigation for contaminated soils related to the site are warranted.
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