U.S. Radium Superfund Site Remediation

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Orange, New Jersey
Date of Execution: December 1996

Significant Project Features:

  • Complete or partial demolition and restoration of 188 commercial, industrial, and residential properties.
  • Excavation, characterization, transportation and disposal of 73,000 cubic yards of low level radioactive waste to USACE's designated disposal facility.
  • Design, construction, and operation of an innovative site dewatering and construction water treatment system rated at 350 gpm.
  • Multi-media sampling and sample management of soils, air, water, and demolition debris.
  • Successful community relations plan focused on an "open door" policy and resulted in numerous letters of commendation from federal, state, community leaders as well as home owners.
  • Extensive restoration of affected properties.

Description of Work

The U.S. Radium Superfund Site is located in the city of Orange, New Jersey in an urban area consisting of commercial, light industrial, and residential properties. Sevenson's LLRW remedial actions at U.S. Radium were initiated under Sevenson's USEPA Region II Preplaced Remedial Action Contract (PRAC) in 1996 (Phases I/II). Our most recent award, Phase VII, is scheduled for completion in December 2004. Sevenson is tasked with the remediation of 188 properties and includes the removal of over 73,000 cy of LLRW.

Pre-Work Activities

Prior to the start of work, Sevenson:

  • Obtained all necessary permits or permit equivalencies.
  • Developed all pre-work submittals, including SHERP, SAP, QC Plan, and baseline schedule.
  • Conducted pre-work surveys (metes and bounds, topographical and ACM) at each property.
  • Established support zones including medical facilities, administrative offices, safety equipment storage, document control center, communications control central and decontamination facilities.

Sevenson was also responsible for the documentation, handling, storage, packing and unpacking of personal property for residents relocated by the Government during remediation. Sevenson prepared inventories (including photo-documentation) of all personal possessions on a house-by-house basis. All inventory items are placed in local (secure) storage, and returned after completion of site restoration.

Design Efforts

To facilitate deep excavations (to 22 feet BGS) at the former U.S. Radium site, Sevenson developed a Construction Dewatering Plan which included the design of a 350 GPM construction water extraction and treatment system. This innovative radiological removal system consists of 117 dewatering extraction wells, organo-clay filters, green sand filters, activated carbon polishing, inclined plate clarifier, filter press, pH/ORP controllers, chemical metering pumps, and auto-samplers. Plant effluent is discharged to Wigwam Brook under a temporary NJPDES permit equivalency.

Remedial Actions

Sevenson's first work task was to conduct ACM abatement and removal at the plant site. Demolition of 6 former U.S. Radium buildings and localized demolition at residences followed ACM abatement. Waste materials were segregated for proper off-site transportation and disposal (non-hazardous vs. hazardous). Sevenson also removed heating oil USTs at several residential properties.

Prior to excavating contaminated soils from the former U.S. Radium site, Sevenson constructed the temporary water treatment system - the first of its kind to treat LLRW water. The treatment system operates on a continuous basis.

Deep excavation at the former U.S. Radium site required construction of a wood shoring system and cut-back side slopes to facilitate the safe excavation to 22 feet BGS. Sevenson's approach saved over $300,000 as compared to steel sheeting techniques.

Where contamination existed underneath simple structures (porches and garages), the structures were demolished, precision excavation conducted, backfill placed and compacted, and the structures re-built to pre-existing conditions. In cases where contamination was identified beneath basement floors or adjacent to foundations, Sevenson used civil construction techniques (shoring, temporary supports, and concrete piles) to support house walls to allow the removal of contaminated soils from affected areas.

Interior restoration includes replacement of basement floors and coverings; mechanical equipment; stairs; interior partition walls; and re-connection of all utility services. Reconstruction work includes new decks; attached and detached garages; front and rear staircases and landings; basement slabs; crawl spaces; and porches.

Contaminated soils are loaded into lined and covered intermodal boxes and shipped via truck from the U.S. Radium facility to a local rail yard. The intermodals are for trans-loaded onto rail flatcars for transport to USACE's designated disposal facility. Sevenson prepares all waste shipping documents and manages all waste transport activities.

Community Relations

Sevenson regularly attends informational meetings for project stakeholders and conducts Public Availability Meetings with residents in support of USEPA and USACE's public relations effort. Sevenson maintained an "open door" policy throughout all phases of the projects to allow residents the opportunity to better understand the nature of the work performed.

Health and Safety Overview:

  • Sevenson and its subcontractors worked in excess of 200,000 safe man-hours at the U.S. Radium Site. The former U.S. Radium manufacturing buildings were in poor and unsafe condition. This required use of additional safety protocols (Level C PPE) and changes to the SOW.
  • Due to lack of structural integrity and high contamination levels in the plant buildings, all work was conducted from the exterior, with careful attention to dust control. Sevenson's perimeter air monitoring system was used to verify that no airborne contamination left the property. Sevenson used daily follow-up QC inspection to ensure that all excavation, confirmation sampling, and backfill compaction testing was conducted in accordance with project plans and properly documented.
  • Unique Characteristics: Throughout the duration of this project radiological personnel and equipment scanning was performed each time an employee exited the exclusion zone to ensure that no alpha contamination was carried off site.
  • Health and Safety Measures: Level C was utilized in areas where the potential for inhalation hazards existed. Modified Level C was utilized in other exterior exclusion zones. Real time, low volume and high volume sampling was performed in active work zones and around the site perimeter to ensure exposure levels for the employees and the community were maintained below the threshold limits.
  • Health and Safety Staff: One (1) Certified Health Physicist and Two (2) Radiological Technicians. ◊ How 40-Hour Training Was Implemented: Sevenson's company personnel have 40 hour training in place prior to start of work. Local union personnel receive training through their union prior to coming on site.