Published in 2012. ©Copyright Chester Public Library.
Combe Fill South Landfill Records
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and N.J. Department of Environmental Protection
1973-2014, bulk 1983-1986
15 linear feet (1 record storage carton, 4 document cases, 8 polyethylene storage tubes, two with tube extenders), 263.71 MB of electronic records (236 files in PDF/A and Excel formats)
The Combe Fill South Landfill Records document the water, air, and soil analyses performed at this open Superfund site located on the border of Chester and Washington Townships. These records also provide a detailed history of the work done to date to remediate the contamination at the site and in the surrounding areas. Researchers will find this collection especially useful in tracking the efforts of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection, as well as their contractors, with regard to the cleanup at the Combe Fill South Landfill.
Local History Department
Chester Public Library
250 W. Main Street
Chester, NJ 07930
Phone: (908) 879-7612
Fax: (908) 879-8695
Table of Contents
Conditions Governing Use:
This collection is open for research.
The items in this collection may be used by patrons who abide by the guidelines of the Local History Room.
Some items in the collection have already been digitized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and are available via links within the container list below.
Conditions Governing Reproduction:
These records fall within 17 USC § 105, which means that they are within the public domain.
[Identification of item], News From Chester collection of Chester Public Library, Chester, New Jersey.
Collection Processed By:
Debra Schiff, Local History Librarian, in 2012, additional items added to the collection in 2014, 2016, and 2017.
Finding Aid Author:
Debra Schiff, Local History Librarian
Description based on DACS.
Table of Contents
The Combe Fill South Landfill comprises 65 acres spanning portions of Chester Township and Washington Township, New Jersey. Approximately 170 people, most of whom use private wells for their drinking water, live within one-half mile of the landfill. Trout Brook, used for fishing and recreational activities, runs through the site. From the 1940s until 1981, Combe Fill South (known at different times as Filiberto Landfill and Chester Hill Landfill) served the area as a municipal landfill, accepting domestic and non-hazardous industrial wastes, sewage sludge, septic tank wastes, chemicals, and waste oils. In 1978, Combe Fill Corporation bought the landfill but did not follow New Jersey’s solid waste administrative codes. The company went bankrupt in 1981, before the landfill could be closed properly.
In 1979, local citizens tested water and soil at and around the landfill and found hazardous chemicals, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), contaminating ground water wells, leachate seeping from the landfills, and the underground aquifer. Contaminants were found in Trout Brook, as well as in residents’ wells. After an official preliminary assessment and site inspection, the landfill was listed on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund National Priority List in 1983. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) conducted a remedial investigation and feasibility study (RI/FS) in 1984 to determine the exact locations of contamination at the site, as well as treatment. The RI/FS was completed in 1986.
Also in 1986, the EPA issued a Record of Decision (ROD) stating 6 key points:
- The landfill would be capped with clay or a synthetic material to prevent water from being exposed to the buried wastes.
- Affected residents would be supplied with water from an alternate source.
- A system for venting and collecting gasses would be installed.
- Shallow ground water and leachate would be pumped and treated prior to discharge into Trout Brook.
- Storm water runoff and seasonal increases in precipitation would be controlled.
- An additional RI/FS would be conducted to determine if the deep aquifer required treatment.
In 1992, the landfill remediation design was completed. In 1997, NJDEP completed construction on the landfill cap and the groundwater remediation system. The plant treats approximately 23 million gallons of ground water each year. That water is discharged to the East Branch of Trout Brook. The public water line was not installed because ground water monitoring after the ROD showed little impact to nearby private potable wells was likely. In 2001, NJDEP began the RI/FS on the deep water aquifer, but were delayed by contract negotiations with the private contractor selected to do the work.
Also in 2001, 33 soil gas probes were installed at the border of the landfill site to determine the extent and concentration of landfill gasses outside of the site. Fifteen additional gas probes were installed in 2002 and 2003 to conduct further tests on the air quality. In 2003 and 2004, pits were dug in areas where the gas probes were installed because waste materials were found in those locations. Digging along the fence line revealed a significant amount of pharmaceutical wastes, personal hygiene products, and drums. NJDEP disposed of more than 27,000 tons of soil and buried waste materials in 2007, and extended the landfill cap over the backfilled waste area in 2008.
In 2003, NJDEP engaged The Louis Berger Group to conduct the deep aquifer remedial investigation. Field work did not begin until 2005. Since then, Louis Berger Group completed the first phase of the investigation and presented findings to the NJDEP. The EPA took over the deep ground water study at the site in 2009. The EPA issued an Explanation of Significant Differences document covering the modifications in the gas venting system, from an active to passive one.
Changes in analytical methods in 2008 led to the analysis of a different semi-volatile compound known as Dioxane. Sampling at four area homes showed levels of Dioxane that were above its interim ground water quality criterion. Water treatment systems were unsuccessful at removing the compound, consequently, NJDEP provided bottled water to the homeowners. As of 2010, sampling has shown that the area of concern is limited to those four homes located along Schoolhouse Lane, northeast of the landfill.
In 2009, the EPA and NJDEP settled with 200 defendants in a lawsuit primarily against Beckman Coulter, Inc., et al., and American Thermoplastics Corp., et al., to recover $69 million for site response costs. $12.7 million in past remediation costs at the landfill, as well as $3.2 million in natural resource damages related to ground water, surface water, and wetlands contamination were awarded to the State of New Jersey. Chester Township and Washington Township paid $315,000 and $196,000, respectively. The total amount recovered, including prior settlements, is $86 million as of 2010.
At present, the EPA is still determining whether, under current conditions, there are any potential or actual human exposures to contaminants at Combe Fill South Landfill. Additionally, EPA is still researching whether contaminated ground water migration is under control.
New Jersey State. Office of the Attorney General. Attorney General Lauds Decision by EPA to Drop Appeal of Court Ruling that Vacated Its Mercury Rules. Trenton, 2009. Web. 10 April 2012.
New Jersey State. Office of Community Relations. Superfund Site Update: Combe Fill South (CFS) Landfill. Trenton, 2004. Web. 4 April 2012.
New Jersey State. Office of Community Relations. Superfund Site Update: Combe Fill South (CFS) Landfill. Trenton, 2010. Web. 4 April 2012.
New Jersey State. Office of Community Relations. OCR Site Info: Combe Fill South Landfill. Trenton, 2004. Web. 10 April 2012.
United States. District Court. District of New Jersey, Newark Vicinage. Partial Consent Decree between Plaintiffs, United States of America, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Administrator of the New Jersey Spill Compensation Fund, and Settling Defendants, Settling Federal Agencies and Settling Municipal Group Parties. Civil Action Nos. 98-CV-4812 (WHW) and 98-CV-4781 (WHW). Newark, 2009. Web. 10 April 2012.
United States. EPA. Combe Fill South Landfill, National Priorities List Fact Sheet. Washington: GPO, 2011. Web. 10 April 2012.
United States. EPA. Government Performance and Results Act Measures. Washington: GPO, 2012. Web. 10 April 2012.
Van Dyk, Meghan. “Chester Twp. Agrees to Pay $315K in Suit Over Landfill.” Daily Record, 5 Feb. 2009: 11. Print.
Table of Contents
The Combe Fill South Landfill Collection was created to document the work done by the NJDEP and EPA to determine the extent of the hazardous materials at the site, and to address the cleanup needs of the site and the surrounding area (primarily the 5-mile radius of the Chester and Washington Townships’ border). The collection spans 1973-2014, and includes extensive water and soil sample analyses, site inspections, correspondence, remedial investigation reports, discharge monitoring reports, legal documents, work plans, feasibility study reports, cooperative agreements, a record of decision, community relations plans, public notices, public meeting transcripts, fact sheets, press releases, an explanation of significant differences, and maps. The records consist primarily of the 8-volume Administrative Record File, Explanation of Significant Differences between gas venting systems, Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study, and maps of the site. The maps of the landfill site and surrounding area indicate test sites, well locations, seepage, leachate, air testing, and more. The most recent documents focus primarily on the groundwater treatment facility reports. Local residents and researchers will find this collection especially useful for the breadth and depth of test results, detailed correspondence, and record of work done (and not done) to clean up the site.
Table of Contents
Organization and Arrangement
The Combe Fill South Landfill Records follow the original volume and page number order of the records as they were distributed to the Chester Library by the NJDEP and EPA. Keeping their original page number order, the oversized maps have been removed from the records and preserved within inert storage tubes. Due to the page number order schema, the dates of the folders are not necessarily chronological. The maps are arranged by page number, size, and type. The newer electronic files have been printed and placed in folders and boxes in chronological order.
The records are arranged into 4 series:
- Administrative Record File, (1973-2006, bulk 1979-1986), 1.25 boxes,
- Explanation of Significant Differences, (2006), 1 folder
- Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study, (1986, 2005), 6 folders
- Maps, (1984-2006, bulk 1984-1986), 8 tubes
- Groundwater Treatment Facility Reports and Legal Documents, (2006-2014), 3 document cases
The items in this collection were originally held in ring binders. To preserve the collection, the records have been removed from their deteriorating vinyl binders, and the maps have been removed from their original placement within the text, unfolded, flattened, and re-housed within inert polyethylene storage tubes. The electronic files have been printed onto acid-free paper.
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Corporate Names/Organizations Subject:
Chester Hill Landfill
Combe Fill South Landfill
Combe Fill South Corporation
Lawler, Matusky and Skelly Engineers
New Jersey. Dept. of Environmental Protection
New Jersey. Dept. of Environmental Protection. Bureau of Water Quality Planning and Management
New Jersey. Dept. of Environmental Protection. Bureau of Site Management
New Jersey. Dept. of Environmental Protection. Division of Waste Management. Hazardous Site
New Jersey. State Dept. of Health
R.W. Wright Associates, Inc.
United States. Environmental Protection Agency.
Drinking water Contamination
Drinking water–Contamination–New Jersey.
Hazardous waste cleanup
Hazardous waste disposal sites
Hazardous waste facilities
Hazardous waste sites
Hazardous waste sites–Environmental aspects–New Jersey.
Hazardous waste sites—Leaching
Hazardous waste site remediation
Morris County (N.J.)–History.
Morris County (N.J.)–History, Local.
Morris County (N.J.)–Maps.
Refuse and refuse disposal.
Refuse and refuse disposal–Environmental aspects–New Jersey.
Refuse disposal facilities
Waste disposal sites
Kaup, Edgar G.
Lawler, Patrick J.
Maikish, Ruth M.
Nadeau, Royal J.
Schwarz, Eric J.
Shields, Edward J.
Chester Township (N.J.)
Morris County (N.J.)
Trout Brook (Morris County, N.J.)
Washington Township (N.J.)
Table of Contents
Series 1: Administrative Record File, 1979-2006, bulk 1979-1986
Series 1, Administrative Record File, is divided into 8 subseries following the order of topics within the original volumes:
- Volume I – Index, Site Identification, and Remedial Investigation
- Volume II – Technical Reports
- Volume III – Technical Reports and the Remedial Action Master Plan
- Volume IV – Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study and Remedial Investigation Reports
- Volume V – Remedial Investigation Reports and Correspondence
- Volume VI – Correspondence, Feasibility Study Reports, and Record of Decision
- Volume VII – State Coordination and Public Participation
- Volume VIII – Record of Decision
The materials in this series include chemical analysis results from monitoring wells, ground water, soil samples, leachate, and waste water, and other sources. Health effects and toxicity of selected substances are also found in this series. Copies of hand-drawn maps are included within the results. These records also include EPA site reports; correspondence with local health departments regarding the test results; and correspondence with the Federal and New Jersey governments and agencies such as the Army Corps of Engineers, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Solid Waste Management, to name a few. The remedial investigations, technical reports, and correspondence make up the lion’s share of this series. The EPA Record of Decision lays out in detail the plan to remediate the pollution issues with the landfill. It was later updated to include the Explanation of Significant Differences discussed below. For digitized versions of many of the files included in the earlier documents, click on the link for the Comprehensive Administrative Record Index of Documents. Links to the digitized items can be found in the left-most column.
Table of Contents
Series 2: Explanation of Significant Differences, 2006
Series 2, Explanation of Significant Differences, is not further divided. It is a self-contained document that was produced by the EPA in partnership with the NJDEP to explain why they changed from an active landfill gas and condensate collection and treatment system to a passive landfill gas venting system during the remedial action phase of the work at the landfill site. The change was made because testing after the Record of Decision revealed that the landfill emissions with the previously selected system would be much lower than the control guidelines, therefore a passive gas venting system would be appropriate. The site history section on page 2 is of particular interest because it provides a snapshot of the contamination issues and how they were addressed. A significant portion of this document comprises air-quality analysis. The digitized version of this document may be accessed by clicking on the link for the Comprehensive Administrative Record Index of Documents, and scrolling to the end of the document to click on file number 96226.
Table of Contents
Series 3: Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study, 1986, 2005
Series 3, Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study, is divided into the following subseries:
- Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study
- Draft Feasibility Study Report
- Site Sampling and Investigation Plan
- Right to Know Hazardous Substance List
In Series 3, folders 6, 7, 8, and 9 in Box 2 are the Final Remedial Investigation Report: Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study, and Draft Feasibility Study Report: Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study, respectively. These two documents taken together report the history of the landfill, remedial actions taken and planned, and alternative actions for the remediation of the pollution in 1986.
The much later Site Sampling and Investigation Plan, Remedial Investigation and Focused Feasibility Study (2005), deals exclusively with the work to be done by the Louis Berger Group, as contracted by the NJDEP. Specifically, Berger was to perform remedial investigations and site sampling. This document is of particular importance because it describes five areas of concern (AOCs) resulting from contamination migration issues at the site from later testing. Two worrying contaminants, Benzene and Tetrachloroethylene were selected for comparison. The accompanying tables in the document provide a handy chronology of events for the Superfund site. A digitized version of the study may be accessed by clicking on the link for the Comprehensive Administrative Record Index of Documents, and clicking on links 39864 and 39867 on page 5. These links open PDF documents on the EPA’s servers.
Table of Contents
Series 4: Maps, 1984-2006, bulk 1984-1986
Series 4, Maps, is divided into the following subseries:
- Small Maps (Tubes 1-5)
- Blueprint Copies and Aerial Photograph Maps (Tube 6)
- Color Maps (Tube 6)
- Large Maps (Tubes 7 and 8)
The maps in the collection are meant to be used with the narratives and analytical reports, however, they are particularly revealing in their own right. Researchers seeking exact testing locations for air, ground water, and soil quality can find these on many of the maps. Additionally, these maps show the test results for select analyses. Most of the maps are photocopies of blueprints, however, there are some blueprint copies in the collection. These maps more effectively show the maps made from aerial photographs. Streets are identified, as is the landfill site. Some maps show the coordinates of the area.
Table of Contents
Series 5 is not further divided. It is housed in Boxes 3-5. This series contains Discharge Monitoring Reports of the groundwater treatment facility at Combe Fill South from 2006-2011. For most years, there are monthly reports, however, the more recent reports appear less often. Additionally, the Settlement Agreement between Chester and Washington Townships and the U.S. government, as well as Civil Action No. 98-CV-4781 are included in this series. Finally, there are a closeout report for Operable Unit 1, and a post-Hurricane Sandy site status update in these files.