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Skip Navigation LinksDNREC : Division of Waste & Hazardous Substances : Site Investigation & Restoration : Newark South Groundwater Plume Site

 Newark South Groundwater Plume Site


The Newark South Groundwater Plume Site

UPDATE:  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on Jan. 9, 2018 that it will list the Newark South Groundwater Plume site on the National Priorities List (NPL) in the Federal Register on Jan. 18, 2018. The listing allows EPA to use Superfund authority and resources to work with the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) to help resolve groundwater concerns in the project area and determine the sources of contamination there.

At the request of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, the EPA firsted announced on July 31, 2017 that it would propose the Newark South Groundwater Plume Site for listing on the NPL. EPA held a public information session on the NPL proposal Aug. 15, 2017 at the Newark Senior Center to provide residents with information about the Newark South Groundwater Plume Site, the EPA’s Superfund process, and guidance on how to submit comments on the proposal. More information regarding the NPL process and the site is available at EPA Superfund Program and

"We are pleased that EPA's proposed National Priorities Listing for the Newark South Groundwater Plume site enables us to further our efforts to better understand the extent of groundwater contamination in the Newark area," said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. "We continue partnering with EPA to address historical contamination in the area as we work to protect and restore Delaware’s precious groundwater resources.”

The Newark South Groundwater Plume Site encompasses an area of southeast Newark along Route 72 between Interstate 95 and Route 4 (East Chestnut Hill Road) in New Castle County. Working with nearly 20 years’ environmental awareness of the contaminated site, the City of Newark, under regulatory oversight provided by DNREC and the Department of Health and Social Services’ Division of Public Health Office of Drinking Water (DPH ODW) have successfully maintained, and will continue to maintain, a safe drinking water supply for the city.

Cleanups at NPL sites are financed under the Federal Superfund program. Once a site is proposed for potential listing in the Federal Register, a 60-day public comment period on the proposed listing ensues. If comments do not affect EPA’s scoring of the site using EPA’s Hazard Ranking System, the site is eligible for listing on the NPL.

The City of Newark has six municipal wells located in the area where groundwater has been impacted by volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – organic compounds found in some industrial and commercial products that can cause adverse human health effects. Newark’s groundwater is treated by the city to remove VOCs from the water supply,enabling the water to continue meeting both federal and the more stringent state safe drinking water standards.

The source of the groundwater contamination at the South Newark Groundwater Plume Site has not been identified. DNREC requested EPA’s assistance to help fully investigate the site and identify the sources of the VOCs contaminating the groundwater. The proposed NPL listing by EPA will provide federal funding and resources for additional investigation at the Newark South Groundwater Site, including identification of possible responsible parties for the contamination. The listing comes at a time when Delaware’s Hazardous Substance Cleanup Act (HSCA) fund has been reduced significantly, limiting DNREC investigations.

Information regarding EPA's proposed listing and Aug. 15 public information session:

DNREC Public Information Meeting on Nov. 17, 2016
State officials from DNREC and DPH, along with representatives of the City of Newark, with support from the EPA, held a public information meeting on Nov. 17. The public information meeting offered an opportunity for DNREC, DPH, EPA and City of Newark representatives to discuss with the community, the upcoming investigation work by EPA on ground water contamination in the area. A brief presentation on the site was given by DNREC’s Site Investigation & Restoration Section, while Newark officials discussed the ongoing, successful treatment of the public water supply at the city’s South Well Field Treatment Plant, which ensures Newark’s drinking water meets all primary and secondary maximum contaminant levels specified by the Safe Drinking Water Act and DPH’s Office of Drinking Water. DNREC's presentation and handouts from the meeting, as well as additional related information, are available below:

Update on EPA's Environmental Sampling
In January/February 2017, EPA conducted environmental sampling of groundwater in the Newark area in an effort to better understand the extent of groundwater contamination.  The environmental sampling was done as a precautionary first step to rule out any potential for vapor intrusion from the contaminated groundwater.  Vapor intrusion is a process that occurs when organic vapors from contaminated ground water or soil move upwards through the ground into buildings.  As part of the investigation, EPA installed and sampled nine (9) new groundwater monitoring wells in the Scottfield and Brookside Park residential developments east of South Chapel Street (Rte. 72).  EPA also sampled a monitoring well, previously installed by DNREC, in the commercial area west of Rte. 72.

The results of the groundwater sampling indicate that vapor intrusion is not a concern at this time. Laboratory analysis of the water samples found low level detections of volatile organic compounds.  The reported chemicals were generally found at trace levels. The concentrations in the ground water samples were below EPA’s screening levels and as such, are not a concern for vapor intrusion. Based on the recent groundwater sampling results, EPA does not plan to conduct in-home vapor intrusion testing at this time. However, EPA plans to resample the new wells later this year, along with wells previously installed by DNREC in nearby commercial areas, to confirm the results and evaluate any possible change in the subsurface conditions.

As previously noted, homes in the Scottfield and Brookside Park developments do not rely on private drinking water supply wells. These communities receive their drinking water from SUEZ Delaware Water (formerly United Delaware Water). The water provided by SUEZ draws surface water from the White Clay & Red Clay Creeks and is not affected by the local groundwater contamination. The drinking water supplied by SUEZ meets Federal and State Drinking Water Standards. The public drinking water supplied to the area by City of Newark has long been treated to remove contaminants and the drinking water continues to meet Federal and State Drinking Water standards, as shared annually in its water quality reports. More information about the environmental sampling effort can be found at:

Additional Information
For more information regarding previous investigations at the Newark South Groundwater Plume Site and nearby sites , please visit DNREC's Delaware Environmental Navigator (DEN) site at: for the following sites:

  • DE-0342: Newark South Well Field (includes DNREC's Preliminary Assessment and Site Investigation)
  • DE-0173: Syntech
  • DE-0248: AMP
  • DE-1032: Process Indust.
  • DE-0295: Lilly Fasteners
  • DE-0322: Chrome Deposit
  • DE-1551: Pencader Dry Cleaner
  • DE-1343: Treatment Plant
  • DE-1512: Permaflex Rollers

For additional information or questions regarding DNREC's investigations, please contact:

For more information regarding the City of Newark’s drinking water supply and treatment system, please visit:, or contact:

  • Kelly Bachman, Communications Manager, City of Newark, at 302-366-7035 or by email at:
  • Tim Filasky, Director of Public Works and Water Resources, or Mark Neimeister, Water Operations Superintendent, City of Newark, at 302-366-7000, or

For more information regarding the EPA's Superfund Program, please contact: 

  • Gina Soscia, Community Involvement Coordinator, EPA Region 3 at: 215-814-5538, or by email at:
  • Connor O’Loughlin, Site Assessment Manager, EPA Region 3 at: 215-814-3304, or by email at:
  • For media inquiries: Roy Seneca, Office of Communications and Government Relations, U.S. EPA, Region 3 at: 215-814-5567, or by email at:

For more information on the contaminants of concern in the area, primarily tetrachloroethylene (PCE) and to a lesser extent, trichloroethylene (TCE), please visit:

  • Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR) ToxFAQs for PCE and TCE  

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