Meadowlands Superfund Site
BackgroundIn the Hackensack Meadowlands of New Jersey, an area with fertile land, tide-water streams, lush marshes, and white cedar swamps that provided resources for people from the earliest days of the new American settlement. The American Industrial Revolution was centered just a few miles from the Meadowlands. Unfortunately, this area which provided so many resources and so much opportunity became victim to natural resource degradation, destruction and contamination. Heavy manufacturing activity and multiple municipal landfills contributed to the damage. Passage and enforcement of the Clean Water Act in 1972 began the process of eliminating the abuse and beginning remediation. Landfills were closed, and responsible disposal practices were enforced by the State of New Jersey. Despite the state involvement, the federal government through the EPA took over the cleanup project in the early 1980’s.
Project ScopeThe Meadowlands is actually three different Superfund sites. These sites are some of the most contaminated sites in the country that are poisoned with mercury, dioxin and VOCs. In 1999, the NJ Meadowlands Commission created the EnCap project which was tasked with remediating the abandoned municipal landfills in the area. Leachate from these landfills was oozing into the surrounding Berry Creek which is a tributary of the Hackensack River. Sheet piling was installed to contain the contaminants and allow various methods of remediation of the sediments and mudflats which had accumulated over the years. The primary concern in the section utilizing sheet piling was the migration of PCBs.
PerformanceFor the solution to contain the PCBs, engineers designed a vertical hydraulic structure. It was determined by geotechnical experts that a sheet piling wall with sealed locks would provide the best performance. Slurry was eliminated as a solution due to quality control, air emission, and permeability issues. Although steel sheet piling was considered, ShoreGuard® offered several critical advantages over steel. ShoreGuard® is lightweight and easy to handle with relatively light equipment which was critical in a marsh/swamp environment. Also, ShoreGuard® sheets are corrosion resistant and provide a longer service life than steel. Patented features of ShoreGuard® have made it the most used synthetic sheet piling in the world for containment projects. The CMI patentedI-Beam Interlock™ design is optimized to provide lock integrity and maximum stiffness during high impact installations. In addition,ShoreGuard’s 24”-30” box profiles allow for faster installation and maximize seepage performance.
ConstructionD’Anunzio Construction was the contractor for the first phase of the project which utilized a variety of lengths form 15’ – 20’ sheets. A medium weight excavator mounted ICE Vibratory was used to drive the sheets. Soil conditions in the marsh were generally soft and organic, however, obstructions from years of illegal dumping slowed productivity. Phases two and three, installed by Yonkers Construction and Conti Enterprises respectively used CMI’s PileClaw™ Installation Equipment which maximizes the efficiency of driving synthetic sheets deep into the ground. The last two phases utilized free hanging vibratory hammers from wheeled cranes which typically is superior and more productive than excavator mounted units.
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