Suburban Superfund

by Tad B. Yancheski, Manager; Tetra Tech Richardson, Inc., Newark, DE,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1989, Vol. 59, Issue 4, Pg. 48-49

Document Type: Feature article


Discovery of methane seeping into houses at a new development near Newark, Del. set off investigations that eventually led to the U.S. EPA declaring the site eligible for Superund cleanup action. Extensive investigations showed the methane to be emanating from debris pits located adjacent to the houses. The pits were filled with trees, tree stumps and other wood material from site clearing during construction. Abnormally rapid decomposition of the organic material due to unusual site conditions fostered the methane generation. Complete removal of the fill material was the remedial measure chosen by a panel of local residents, U.S. EPA, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) and other environmental officials. The estimate was $400,000. Following a breakdown in negotiations with the potentially responsible party (PEP), DNREC requested Federal Superfund resources to expedite the remediation of the methane problems at the site. Completion of this project is expected to cost more than $2 million.

Subject Headings: Methane | Organic matter | Suburbs | Residential buildings | Environmental Protection Agency | Trees | Construction materials | Construction sites | New Jersey | United States

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