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Thorium-contaminated waste from manufacturing processes may be in the surrounding area
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a plan to clean radioactive contamination on the portion of the Welsbach/General Gas Mantle Superfund site located in Gloucester City, N.J. The site consists of two former gas lamp manufacturing facilities: Welsbach in Gloucester City and the General Gas Mantle property in Camden County.
The Welsbach Co. and the General Gas Mantle Co. used the radioactive material thorium from the late 1890s to 1941 to make the gas lamps manufactured at the facilities glow brighter. It is believed that thorium-contaminated waste from the manufacturing process was used as fill in the surrounding area.
As a result, the soil and buildings on the Welsbach and General Gas Mantle properties, as well as surrounding properties, were contaminated. EPA is encouraging public comments on the proposed cleanup plan until Aug. 22, 2011, and will discuss its proposed plant at a public meeting on Wednesday.