By David Madden

GLASSBORO, N.J. (CBS) — The US Environmental Protection Agency has begun to clean up the mess left by the owner of a drum recycling plant in Elk Township, Gloucester County.

New Jersey officials had been working with the Superior Barrel and Drum Company to address a hazardous material problem on its property — until Hurricane Sandy hit.

Then the owner stopped cooperating, forcing the state to bring in the feds.

“This site was a complete mess,” says EPA regional administrator Judith Enck.  “There were more than 2,000 drums and containers holding a variety of hazardous substances.  Some of the drums were flammable.  Some of them contained materials that were corrosive or toxic.”


(EPA regional administrator Judith Enck.   Photo by David Madden)

(EPA regional administrator Judith Enck. Photo by David Madden)


Officials estimate that it will take till April to clear all that out.

Preliminary tests show that while some chemicals got into the soil, the groundwater has not been tainted.  More extensive tests will follow.

The owner will get what’s expected to be a $1-million invoice for the cleanup, and criminal charges could follow.

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