Rolling Knolls Landfill Site History
Rolling Knolls landfill is an approximately 200-acre site located in the Green Village section of Chatham Township which was used as an unlined landfill from the early 1930s through 1968. During its use, it received municipal solid waste, construction and demolition debris. According to the Chatham Board of Health, waste included tree stumps, scrap metal, tires, household refuse, residential septage waste and industrial waste. Herbicides and pesticides were used to control weeds, insects and rodents. Oil was applied on facility roadways to control dust. Most of the site is privately held, however, approximately 30 acres are owned by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.
Landfill operations contaminated soil, sediment, surface water and groundwater. Contaminants consist of elevated levels of arsenic, lead, mercury, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), pesticides, phthalates, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), freon compounds, dioxin and furans.
EPA Determination: Superfund
After many years of investigation, EPA determined that the site was a threat to people and the environment and the site was placed on the Environmental Protection Agency National Priorities List for cleanup in 2003. What exactly does this mean?
In 1980, after toxic waste dumps such as Love Canal received national attention and the public learned about the risks to human health and the environment caused by contamination, Congress established the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), more commonly known as Superfund. The Superfund law allows EPA to clean up contaminated sites, including requiring responsible parties to perform the cleanup or pay for it.
According to EPA, Superfund goals are:
- Protect human health and the environment by cleaning up polluted sites
- Make responsible parties pay for cleanup work
- Involve communities in the Superfund process, and
- Return Superfund sites to productive use
After having listed Rolling Knolls as a Superfund site, EPA identified potentially responsible parties (PRPs) who then conducted a lengthy remedial investigation through soil and water sampling and a risk assessment. The next step in the process is an analysis of potential cleanup alternatives, called a Feasibility Study and identification of a preferred proposed cleanup plan.