BP has put into place remaining cleanup systems necessary to complete the efforts it has made for many years here.
Workers pouring the concrete foundation for one of the two
ozone tubing and piping manifolds.
Working closely with the NJDEP, BP has developed the final remedial action plans for the site, completed certain soil cleanup aspects of those plans, and installed and begun operating a wide variety of technologies to complete the final phase of cleaning up this large and complicated site.
To coordinate these cleanup efforts, BP has retained Sovereign Consulting, the same well-respected, New Jersey-based environmental consulting company that has managed the site through the NJDEP regulatory process since 1999 and directed much of the cleanup conducted to date.
BP has spent many years investigating this former terminal site and deploying cleanup technologies with much success. Impacts on soils and groundwater from petroleum and other chemical products have been reduced significantly over time. BP has put in place the remaining cleanup systems necessary to complete the efforts it has made for many years here.
In 2010, BP employed a contractor and local union labor to complete the final excavation of impacted soils across the site, and treated and backfilled other selected areas, including the old terminal stormwater basins. Completion of this work earned notification from NJDEP that BP has finished with cleanup of the majority of shallow soils. The focus going forward will be further cleanup of deeper soil and groundwater beneath the surface, and doing so while the Port is developed and operated safely overhead.
A component of BP's groundwater cleanup strategy is the operation of a pumping system around the perimeter of the site to maintain hydraulic containment. Simply put, that means drawing groundwater impacted with chemicals out of strategically placed BP onsite wells, and pumping it into the BP Groundwater Treatment Plant where it can be cleaned and safely discharged, rather than allowing it to flow away untreated from deep beneath the Site. This system was the first major cleanup system installed by BP and has been in place doing its job, in compliance with NJDEP permits, since 1991. It has been upgraded and expanded along the way for improved performance, including the installation of new wells and piping.
In addition to implementation of the groundwater containment strategy, there has been cleanup of source areas within the site. Source areas are where petroleum and chemical products inadvertently entered the ground during the historic operation of the terminal. BP removes such petroleum and chemical impacts in several ways. One of the earliest and most proven systems is a set of skimmer pumps that removes old petroleum fuel products floating on top of the groundwater. These pumps have largely completed their work.
Another source area cleanup system BP operates is an air sparging system that injects air/oxygen into the ground, causing chemical contaminants to break down and turn into vapors that are removed using a technology called soil vapor extraction (SVE). The SVE system employs a vacuum to pull the chemical vapors into an underground piping system, and conveys them to a pair of thermal treatment units that completely destroy the vapors in compliance with NJDEP air permit requirements. The oxygen injection has the added benefit of encouraging the growth of microbes in the soil that feed on petroleum and chemical products, further breaking them down into their harmless natural components. The soil vapor extraction system has been very effective in removing vapors from the soils and was expanded in conjunction with start-up of the new and expanded source area cleanup systems installed at the Site in 2012.
Two of the new cleanup systems use ozone technology. Ozone is a gas created by adding an electric charge to oxygen. Ozone is very effective at breaking down chemicals found at the site and has the added benefit of being a very green technology as it quickly converts back to oxygen. These systems are significantly speeding up the cleanup of groundwater in the main source areas at the site.
Additionally, BP has installed a flexible dual-phase extraction system to remove residual fuel oil in a small area of the site. The system uses drop tubes that can be adjusted to extract both liquids and vapors. The tubes can be lowered to the surface of groundwater to skim liquid fuel, or the tubes can be raised to vacuum out vapors and convey them to the SVE treatment units where they are destroyed.
It will take many more years for the remediation systems to finish their cleanup work, reducing impact levels to the point that the systems can be turned off so that nature can finish the job.
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