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Former Roth Cleaners

Site Contact:
Daniel Gaughan


Site Location:
243 Wanaque Avenue
Pompton Lakes, NJ 07442

The site is the location of the Former Roth Cleaners. The site operated from the 1940s through 2005. In the early 1990s, Mr. Roth hired a contractor to remove two underground storage tanks from the rear of the building. The tanks contained fuel oil and Stoddard solvent. Post-excavation soil samples indicated concentrations of tetrachloroethylene (PCE) above NJDEP standards. NJDEP required Roth to investigate the PCE contamination and a cesspool was discovered adjacent to the USTs. The cesspool sludge contained PCE at 90,000 parts per million. The impacted soil was removed and groundwater (GW) monitoring wells were installed. GW results indicated concentrations of PCE above NJDEP standards.

A series of monitoring wells were installed surrounding the Roth building and a groundwater investigation indicated concentrations of chlorinated compounds above the NJDEP standards.

Roth was ordered by NJDEP to conduct indoor air and sub-slab soil gas sampling at the Roth building and surrounding buildings. Roth hired a NJ Licensed Site Remediation Professional (LSRP) to conduct the investigation. PCE was identified in indoor air in an adjacent building which housed two daycare centers. A sub-slab depressurization system (SSDS) was installed in that building. Sample results indicated exceedances of NJDEP standards in the adjacent theater building and video game store as well. A soil vapor extraction (SVE) system was installed in the Roth building.

There are no existing NJDEP records between 2010 and 2015. It is believed that the SVE system operated and removed a large amount of contamination from the subsurface. There is no information concerning the SSDS installed in the building housing the two daycare centers.

Letters from 2014 from a new LSRP to property owners, indicated concentrations of chlorinated compounds were below NJDEP standards except in the theater building. The LSRP speculated the concentrations detected were due to dry cleaning of costumes.

In 2016, Mr. Roth passed away. Subsequently, the newly hired LSRP also passed away. After that, the Site was not looked at again until February 2021 by the NJDEP Immediate Concern Unit (ICU). The ICU conducted a site walk and observed four unknown 55-gallon drums, a 5-gallon container with crystalized material coming out of it, unknown liquids in buckets, potential asbestos floor tiles and the intact drycleaning equipment. NJDEP also observed that the building was in poor condition with several small holes in the roof and rain water on the ground within the building.

In March 2021, NJDEP referred the Site to EPA. EPA conducted a site walk with NJDEP and observed the same materials as NJDEP in addition to several mercury containing switches and possible PCB-containing fluorescent light ballasts.

In November 2022, after contacting the family of Mr. Roth and gaining access, EPA conducted hazard categorization (hazcat) of the materials observed. EPA identified the fluids within the drycleaning equipment as being flammable, the crystalized material as being an oxidizer, and the liquid within the 55-gallon drums as being a Ph of 6.5 to 7. EPA collected samples from the potential asbestos containing floor tiles. During the investigation, EPA also collected indoor air and sub-slab soil gas samples from the Roth building, the theater and the video game store. However, due to issues with the summa can regulators, the sample results were rejected.

In March 2022, EPA re-collected the indoor air and sub-slab soil gas samples from the Roth building, the theater and the video game store, as well as the building that housed the two daycare centers previously. That building now only housed one daycare center. During this investigation, EPA observed approximately 15 linear feet of asbestos pipe wrap insulation on piping associated with the drycleaning equipment. Due to the daycare spraying alcohol around the rooms to combat Covid-19, the results for the daycare were rejected.

In May 2022, EPA collected a new round of indoor air samples from the building with the daycare. No alcohol was sprayed during this sampling event.

Analytical results from the March and May 2022 indoor air and sub-slab soil gas sampling events at the Property building, video game store, theater/teen center building and the building with the daycare indicated that all compounds related to dry-cleaning activities, namely trichloroethylene (TCE), PCE, and their degradation compounds (i.e., vinyl chloride, dichloroethene, etc.), were detected but did not exceed the EPA Removal Management Levels (RMLs).


In September 2022 EPA and the ERRS contractor arranged for the abatement of the asbestos pipe wrap insulation. ERRS hired a licensed abatement contractor and the material was removed and properly disposed.


In October 2022, EPA and ERRS removed liquids from the drycleaning equipment and placed into drums, bulked the clear liquid from the existing drums, utilized the existing hazcat information to bulk other materials together, placed the crystalized material, mercury switches and other debris into drums for disposal. Disposal samples were collected from all materials and sent to a lab for analysis.


In February 2023, EPA and ERRS arranged for disposal of all hazardous materials from the Site. A total of 15 drums ranging in size from 30 to 55-gallons, both steel and plastic, as well as three cubic yard boxes containing cut pipes and containers were shipped off site for disposal. All work was completed at the site on February 21, 2023.