North Plainfield, New Jersey

In 1953, Stavid Engineering built an 80-acre industrial site that sits in the boroughs of Watchung and North Plainfield, N.J. Lockheed Corporation, a predecessor to Lockheed Martin Corporation, acquired the engineering company six years later. From 1959 to 1989, Lockheed Electronics Company manufactured, tested and assembled electronic components at the site. Lockheed closed the operation in 1989, and eventually sold the property, which is located on Route 22. In 1999, the site was redeveloped into a shopping center, the Watchung Square Mall.

Lockheed, which became Lockheed Martin in 1995 after the merger of Lockheed and Martin Marietta Corporation, assumed responsibility for the environmental cleanup. After closing the plant in 1989, the Corporation conducted an initial environmental investigation under the oversight of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP). The investigation identified trichloroethene (TCE), a cleaning solvent that had been used to clean electronic parts, and fuel oil in site soil.

In the early 1990s, the contaminated soil was excavated and disposed of in a licensed off-site landfill. In some areas of the site, TCE was extracted using a vapor-recovery system to remove contamination from the soil. After the soil cleanup was completed, the Corporation in July 1998 received final approval from the NJDEP, which permitted unrestricted use of the site.

In August 1993, it was determined that groundwater at the site was contaminated with TCE. Working closely with the NJDEP, the Corporation installed more than 40 monitoring wells to measure the extent of TCE in groundwater. Based on the findings, it was determined that a pump-and-treat system would best clean up the contamination. The system was installed and began operating in July 2003.

The treatment system was designed to collect the groundwater and remove the contamination in an aboveground processing facility, and has prevented contamination from entering Crab Brook. Groundwater contamination has decreased significantly since the system was implemented, and water quality is near or below NJDEP cleanup levels. Groundwater concentrations in the vicinity of the treatment system have been below NJDEP cleanup levels for several years.  As a result, the system has been permanently shut down and the treatment equipment has been decommissioned and sent to a recycling facility.

Lockheed Martin also investigated the possibility that contaminated vapor from the groundwater is entering indoor air in buildings near the site. The investigation includes the Walmart at Watchung Square Mall, the Avalon Watchung apartment complex, and the Regency Village Condominiums property. All three sites are closest to the original contamination source and to the highest levels of TCE remaining in shallow groundwater. Indoor air quality was measured in 2011, 2012, and 2013 to determine if vapors are entering structures from the ground below.  In addition, soil vapor samples were collected beneath the foundations at the Walmart, all 16 buildings at Avalon Watchung, and eight buildings at Regency Village to evaluate whether sub-slab soil gas was present.

Results from each of the sampling events indicated that TCE was not detected at concentrations above the New Jersey Vapor Intrusion Residential Indoor Air Screening Criteria.  Concentrations of TCE were detected above the New Jersey Soil Gas Screening Level at three buildings on the Avalon Watchung property.  Therefore, additional sub-slab soil gas samples will be collected from three buildings at Avalon Watchung; however, no further action is required at Watchung Square Mall or the Regency Condominiums property.

In May 2013, Lockheed Martin submitted a biennial certification to the NJDEP for a Groundwater Classification Exemption Area (CEA). The CEA was established to provide notice to the public that groundwater cleanup levels, while they are very close, currently are not being met within a defined area. In an effort to better define that area, Lockheed Martin will install five additional monitoring wells in the boroughs of North Plainfield and Watchung in Summer 2013.

 

Community Information

 


Technical Documents

Vapor Intrusion Monitoring at Avalon Watchung (Formerly Crystal Ridge)

Vapor Intrusion Monitoring at Avalon Watchung (Formerly Crystal Ridge) and Regency Village

Annual Summary Report of Groundwater & Surface Water Monitoring & Groundwater Extraction System Performance Evaluation