Barth Smelting Facility

Newark, NJ - Region II


Site Contact:

Kimberly Staiger

99 Chapel Street
Newark, NJ 07105

Latitude: 40.7361892
Longitude: -74.1402096

The Site is located in a mixed residential/industrial neighborhood within the Ironbound Section of Newark, Essex County, New Jersey, and includes the historic footprint of the former Barth facility (Block 2442, Lots 10, 11, 12) and the extent of lead contamination adjacent to the former facility, including the former playground and grassy areas adjacent the community building on the Newark Housing Authority's (NHA) Terrell Homes property.

The Site is bounded to the north by the Passaic River, to the south by Chapel Street and Lister Avenues, to the east by the 99 Chapel Street property, and to the west by the Millard E. Terrell Homes (Terrell Homes), a public housing complex owned by the Newark Housing Authority. A small recreational playground utilized by the Terrell Homes residents is located immediately adjacent the former Barth Smelting facility.

The Site was included on a list of hundreds of locations nationwide where secondary lead smelting or alloying may have been conducted according to entries in historical trade publications. The list was originally compiled by William P. Eckel in a doctoral dissertation for George Mason University, and the research was summarized in the article “Discovering Unrecognized Lead-Smelting Sites by Historical Methods” (Eckel et al, 2001).

Barth Smelting Corp. operated on Block 2442, Lots 10-12 from at least 1946 until approximately 1982, and produced brass and bronze ingots and also worked with non-ferrous metals. Prior operators on this property include the New Jersey Zinc & Iron Company, a former zinc smelter, and General Lead Batteries, a manufacturer of lead acid batteries.The New Jersey Zinc & Iron Company, also known as the Newark Zinc Works, formerly operated on a portion of the 99 Chapel Street property (Block 2442, Lots 10-12) as well as the property currently occupied by the Terrell Homes housing complex (Block 2442, Lot 1). The Zinc Works was one of the first commercial zinc oxide plants in the United States and operated on this location from 1848 to 1910.

Soil samples were collected from the former playground area adjacent the former Barth Smelting Corp. facility. Elevated levels of lead were found to be present in the surface soils (0-2' depth interval) of the playground. Additional soil borings were installed throughout the Terrell Homes property to determine if historic operations conducted on this property and adjacent properties had impacted the soils.

Elevated levels of lead, which pose a significant threat to the local residents, were detected in two soil borings installed in the grassy area immediately adjacent the the Community Building, which serves as a recreational area for the residents and contains a water park area (sprinklers) for children to play outdoors and a basketball court. A temporary chain link fence was erected to restrict access to the former playground area and grassy areas adjacent the Community Building.

An Action Memorandum was signed on September 26, 2013 authorizing EPA to conduct a time-critical removal action to address the threats posed by lead contaminated soil on the Terrell Homes, a residential multi-family public housing complex owned by the Newark Housing Authority.

Removal Action activities began at the Site on December 2, 2013 and included the removal of fencing between the Terrell Homes property and 99 Chapel Street proprties, the excavation, transportation, and disposal of lead contaminated soil to a depth of one foot below grade (b.g.) in the unpaved play areas located along the northern boundary of the Terrell Homes property, and backfilling/re-grading of the excavated area. Soils were excavated up to the fenceline separating the two properties.

EPA returned to the property the week of July 8, 2014 to oversee removal activities conducted by 99 Chapel Street, LLC, the neighboring property owner. A consultant for 99 Chapel Street, LLC, excavated soil located along the former fence line on the Terrell Homes side of the newly constructed security wall. Excavated soils were used to backfill UST excavations on the 99 Chapel Street property in accordance with NJDEP Alternate Fill Material Guidance. A concrete apron located along the property line was encapsulated in concrete to prevent potentially contaminated soils from migrating onto the residential property.

Final restoration activities are planned for the week of September 15th and will include placing up to 6" of top soil across all excavation areas, planting grass seed, and planting trees and shrubbery.

For additional information, visit the Pollution/Situation Report (Pol/Sitreps) section.