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CARLSTADT, NJ-The Federal EPA has approved a $7.5 million cleanup program for the six-acre site on Paterson Plank Rd. formerly used by the defunct Scientific Chemical Processing Co. Local officials hope the site, which lies within the Meadowlands redevelopment zone, can be returned to taxable use.

SCP used the site to treat and dispose of chemical wastes for a decade before the courts shut the place down in 1980. The cost of the cleanup will be paid by parties identified by EPA as “responsible for the contamination,” according to an agency official. EPA has declined to identify those on the list, which is said to include at least 60 names.

The SCP operation contaminated on-site soil and at least three underground aquifers with a combination of chemicals, heavy metals and pesticides. Approximately $3 million has been spent to date on remediation, according to EPA officials, including the removal of five storage tanks back in 1985 and the installation of a protective shield for containment purposes. One on-site storage tank remains.

The $7.5-million plan just approved by EPA calls for capping most of the site currently sitting under the protective shield. A small portion of the property, identified by EPA as “the sludge area,” would be thoroughly cleaned through a complex process that would separate the sludge from the soil. Prior to deciding on this particular approach, EPA had studied everything from leaving the site as is, or completely removing all contaminants, an effort that would have cost nearly $100 million.

Mayor William Roseman of Carlstadt and other local officials say they are looking at options to redevelop the site, although that may be complicated by its proximity to the Meadowlands Sports Complex. The New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority is currently studying options for redevelopment of the Continental Airlines Arena, and whatever happens there will have an impact on what happens to smaller sites nearby.

EPA officials have laid out a remediation plan that calls for the capping to begin in about two years, with completion slated for one year after that.

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