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Radon Excavation Work Ongoing at Ferry's Fence and Holt Marine Terminal


William E. Cleary Sr. | CNBNews

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(SUNDAY, APRIL 18, 2021)--The removable of the radon material from the Ferry Fence office property on 7th Street began this year in January. The area encompasses 4600 square feet. The cost for this work is estimated at $500,000. The arrows point to air monitors put in place to monitor the quality of the air. Because of a low water table, according to an EPA spokesperson, the excavation pit in front of the property filled up with water. That section of 7th Street has been in deplorable conditions since the late 80s because of poor drainage due to inadequate infrastructure. (photo credit CNBNews)


GLOUCESTER CITY, NJ (May 2, 2021)--The U.S. Department of Environmental Protection (EPA)  continues its efforts to remove the hazardous radon material which was buried by the Welsbach Gas Mantle Factory decades ago throughout Gloucester City 

The two latest sites are at the Ferry Fence Business property, Seventh and Jersey Avenue, and at the Holt Marine Terminal King and Essex Streets. 

The approximate size of the Ferry Fence remedial area is 4,600 square feet according to Stephen Mcbay, spokesperson for the EPA in New York City. And, the projected cost of remediation is $500,000 said Mcbay. That work began this year at the beginning of January.

6a00d8341bf7d953ef026bdecc4acc200c-800wiA sinkhole on March 18 caused a section of Charles Street to cave -in (above). Work has begun to repair the street.  It is not known at this time how much it will cost to fix the problem. Nearby 7th Street will also be repaired because of the poor infrastructure in that locale. Any time there was a heavy rainstorm on an extremely high tide the streets in that immediate area became impassable. Those streets have been in poor condition for decades. (photo CNBNews)


The nearby street cave-in at Charles and Seven Street, which was a result of the old brick sewer line breaking has nothing to do with the radon work at Ferrys'. That brick sewer line, which is approximately a century old, also extends onto Seventh Street to Jersey Avenue. Plans call for that to be repaired by a contractor hired by the City soon.  

In the fall of 2020 the EPA, as part of the continual cleanup of the Welsbach Facility, formerly located at King and Essex Streets, filed a permit equivalency application to divert water from 16 excavations utilizing sumps and trenches with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Agency (DEP).


The plan calls for diverting 26.28 million gallons of water monthly and 315.36 million gallons per year at 600 gallons per minute. 


The construction of the water treatment facility is on King Street, between Essex and Warren Streets. "It is property owned by Holt Cargo, the port facility owners, and was previously used as an employee parking area," according to McBay.


McBay said, "The construction of the Water Treatment Facility is scheduled to be completed in late 2021. The current estimated cost to construct the Waste Water Treatment Facility is $7.8 million."


Last fall we asked McBay about the disposal of the 26 million gallons of water each month, "Removal of radiologically impacted soil at the port facility will involve excavation and there will be associated dewatering of the excavation. That water will be transported to the water treatment facility, once constructed in mid/late 2021. Once treated it will be subject to the requirement of the  New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and subsequently discharged to the Delaware River under NJDEP’s requirements." 


"Complete cleanup of the Welsbach & General Gas Mantle Superfund Site is currently expected to be completed in 8-10 years. The current projection on the cost to complete the entire environmental clean-up ranges from $350 million to $375 million", said McBay.



Located in Camden and Gloucester City, the Welsbach Company (Gloucester City) and GGM (Camden) produced gas mantles from the late 1890s to 1941. The companies used radioactive elements in the production of the mantles to help them glow brighter when heated. In the early 1990s, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection found elevated levels of radiation at the site and in many residential areas. EPA added the site to the Superfund National Priorities List in June 1996. 


Cleanup activities completed to date include:


  • Excavation/disposal of contaminated soil and waste materials from numerous properties in Gloucester City and Camden;
  • The demolition/off-site disposal of the former GGM building in Camden;
  • Cleanup of radiologically contaminated building surfaces in the Armstrong Building, the last standing building associated with the former Welsbach Company at the port in Gloucester City; 
  • Cleanup/restoration of the William Flynn Veterans Sports Complex, which included rebuilding three baseball fields, a football practice field, and a parking area; and 
  • Cleanup/restoration of the Nicholson Road Sports Complex, which included restoration of three softball fields, a Little League baseball field, bathroom facilities, and a concession stand. 
  • Excavation/disposal of radiologically contaminated soil at 15 locations at the port facility; and
  • Relocation of utilities (e.g. electrical, gas, telecommunication) within the port facility to facilitate subsequent large excavation of radiologically contaminated soil.



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