Buried battery cleanup continues in Gloucester Co.

WEST DEPTFORD, N.J. (WPVI) -- Crews continue digging at Gloucester County home to help rid a neighborhood of hazardous material.

This all began to unfold last spring when workers repairing a damaged sewer line on this started digging up plastic debris about three feet beneath the surface.

The ensuing EPA investigation determined that sometime before the house was built, more than 20 years ago, someone buried several tons of toxic car battery casings in this area.

The family there had no clue they were living on top of toxic chemicals. Now the feds are chipping in hundreds of thousands of dollars to make the ground clean once more.

"It's a nightmare for the neighborhood," said EPA on-site coordinator David Rosoff.

In fact, while remediation crews continue to dig on one property, EPA researchers are still testing 34 other nearby properties and see if they too are sitting on a lead and PCB contaminated dumping ground.

Delores Zirbser, who lives about a block away, says so far tests around her home have come up negative. Still, she is fully aware of what this does to her property value.

"The stigma will still be here and the value of these properties, and they're very nice homes, but the value is still going to go down," she said.

Testing around the neighborhood is still months away from completion, but David Rosoff says this is not the end of the story.

"The good news is that we are here and we are going to clean it up and eventually, hopefully, we will be done and this will be a long forgotten," he said.

Officials are working to figure out if the discarded cases are related to a superfund site about a mile away. They're hoping to track down those responsible for the mess and make them pay for the cleanup, which is already hovering around $500 million.
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