(The following is a reformatted version of a press release
issued by The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and received
via e-mail. The release was confirmed by the sender.)
EPA Reaches Agreement with Wyeth Holdings Corporation
on the Cleanup of the American Cyanamid Superfund Site
in Bridgewater Township, New Jersey
(New York, N.Y. - March 21, 2013) The U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency today announced a legal agreement with Wyeth
Holdings Corporation, a subsidiary of the Pfizer Corporation, to
perform pre-construction design work, an initial step in the
cleanup of the American Cyanamid Superfund site in Bridgewater
Township, New Jersey. On September 27, 2012, the EPA issued its
final plan to address contaminated soil, ground water and six
waste disposal areas (called impoundments 3, 4, 5, 13, 17 and
24) at the site. The agreement also requires the company to
complete a study evaluating alternatives for cleaning up two
additional chemical waste areas (called impoundments 1 and 2).
In addition, Wyeth Holdings Corporation agreed to continue to
operate a system for collecting and treating contaminated ground
water underneath the site to prevent it from seeping into the
nearby Raritan River, Cuckhold’s Brook and Middle Brook. All
cleanup work will be done under the EPA’s oversight.
The soil, ground water and waste disposal areas or impoundments,
are contaminated with volatile organic compounds and other
hazardous materials. The extent and nature of potential health
effects depend on many factors, including the level of
contamination to which people are exposed and how long people
may be exposed to the contaminants. The ground water underlying
the site is highly contaminated with benzene. Many volatile
organic compounds are known to cause cancer in animals and
benzene can cause cancer in people.
“The Superfund program operates on the principle that polluters
should pay for the cleanups,” said EPA Regional Administrator
Judith A. Enck. “This agreement allows the cleanup of the
American Cyanamid Superfund site to move forward without passing
the costs to taxpayers.”
The cleanup of the American Cyanamid site will proceed once the
design plans are completed and approved by the EPA. The
estimated cost of the cleanup is $205 million and Wyeth Holdings
Corporation will reimburse all of the EPA’s oversight costs. The
design work is expected to take approximately two years.
The American Cyanamid Superfund Site has a history of industrial
pollution dating back to 1915. For nearly 100 years, prior
owners used the location for manufacturing chemicals. A number
of impoundments were constructed and used for waste storage and
disposal throughout this time period, which eventually resulted
in the contamination of soil and ground water. The site was
placed on the federal Superfund list in 1983 after hazardous
chemicals were found in the impoundments, soil and ground water.
To see the EPA’s cleanup plan and the full history of the site,
Superfund is the federal cleanup program established by Congress
in 1980 to investigate and clean up the country’s most hazardous
sites. The Superfund program operates on the principle that
polluters should pay for the cleanups, rather than passing the
costs to taxpayers. When sites are placed on the Superfund list,
the EPA looks for parties responsible for the pollution and
requires them to pay for the cleanups. In 2009, Pfizer Inc.
assumed responsibility for the American Cyanamid site as part of
its purchase of the Wyeth Holdings Corporation, a prior owner.
Contact: Elias Rodriguez, (212) 637-3664,
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