The former Paulsboro Terminal site has a long history in southwest New Jersey, fueling this area's economy for more than 100 years. The site first came to use during World War One when fueling tanks were built to support the War effort.
In 1929, Patterson Oil used those tanks to further develop the property as an oil storage and fueling terminal. Eastern Gas & Fuels, which took over in 1954, completed the terminal expansion, and sold the terminal in 1960 to Sinclair Refining Corporation. In 1969, after Sinclair and Atlantic Richfield Company merged, BP bought the terminal property and took over operations.
During the period 1979 to 1991, the first environmental assessment and remediation activities were begun at the site, with New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) oversight. These activities included recovery of spilled petroleum products, sampling to assess soil and groundwater conditions, and installation of a pumping and treatment system to manage impacted groundwater beneath the Site.
From 1989 through 1992, BP phased out all specialty chemical storage and distribution activities at the terminal. BP subsequently ceased remaining terminal operations and began demolition of the facility in 1996. The first phase of demolition, completed in 1998, included the removal of a number of chemical tanks and associated piping.
Between 1994 and 2002, environmental assessment activities were expanded first to include 14 potential areas of concern and then, comprehensively, to assess conditions across the entire Site. Additionally, BP expanded its remediation efforts with the installation of the first, second and third soil vapor extraction systems (SVE). A SVE system uses a series of wells and pipes to remove hydrocarbon vapors from soils underneath the surface. The vapors are pulled through a piping system and safely destroyed in a thermal treatment unit in accordance with strict NJDEP permit conditions.
In addition to the SVE system, BP also incorporated a supplementary technique called air sparging that injects oxygen into the subsurface, which helps break down petroleum and some chemical compounds from liquid to vapor phase. As the liquids turn to vapor, the SVE system sweeps the vapors out of the subsurface and destroys them, thus enhancing the cleanup effort.
The original groundwater pumping and treatment system was also overhauled and computerized to improve its function in 1999, and a new petroleum product recovery system was installed and began operation around the same time. Additionally, BP extended its off-site deep groundwater investigations and voluntarily initiated its own sampling of the Borough of Paulsboro water supply wells and a NJDOT well, along with monitoring of its own upgradient sentinel groundwater monitoring well network.
After the cessation of operations in 1996, BP recognized the impact of closing the terminal on the local economy. After discussions with local officials, BP funded a study in 2002 examining the best potential uses for the Site. One of the strongest recommendations that came from that study was the idea of converting the Site to a deep water port. This idea was strongly adopted by local, county and state officials, who set to work to find ways to turn this idea into a reality.
While work moved forward on finding ways to redevelop the Site, BP constructed what at that time (2003) was one of the largest solar power facilities on the east coast. The electric power from this facility generated some of the power needed to operate the environmental remediation systems on the Site.
In 2003 and 2004, BP completed the second and final phase of major demolition that saw the removal of all remaining storage tanks and product piping, along with the majority of remaining terminal infrastructure (buildings, loading racks, pump stations, etc.). This important step made way for additional environmental remediation activities and for future redevelopment. BP successfully recycled the majority of demolition materials.
As planning moved forward for the Paulsboro Marine Terminal, in 2005, BP leased all but six acres of the former terminal to the Borough of Paulsboro at $1 per year for 90 years. Gloucester County also reached agreement with the State to help finance and build a bypass from I-295 to the planned port that would serve as a truck route for the facility. The new route, which includes the Mantua Creek overpass, was completed in 2014 and will keep the majority of Port truck traffic from having to drive through the middle of town, through residential neighborhoods, and past schools and recreational facilities. BP also leased to the Borough of Paulsboro a riverfront property that is next to the Site. The Borough envisions that the waterfront location would be used for future commercial redevelopment for the further benefit and enjoyment of the community.
In 2006, the Borough and the South Jersey Port Corporation (SJPC) formally signed agreements to create a deepwater port in Paulsboro. In 2007, Gloucester County Improvement Authority (GCIA) approved bonds to fund engineering, environmental and other pre-construction activities at the Port. In 2009, BP representatives and state and local officials broke ground for the new Paulsboro Marine Terminal. At the ceremony, BP recognized the forward thinking and determination of local officials for turning a vision into a reality.
While work on development of the Port moved forward, BP worked closely with NJDEP to complete the required regulatory environmental processes and put in place environmental remediation systems prior to the opening of the Port. In 2007, BP completed a Final Remediation Investigation Report, the final step in the investigation phase of the Site and the basis for final cleanup decisions. In 2008, the results of that report were presented to the Paulsboro community in a public meeting. Later that year, NJDEP approved BP's Remedial Action Selection Report that provides a master plan of methods to be used in the cleanup of the site. In 2009, NJDEP established a Groundwater Classification Exception Area (CEA), ensuring appropriate use and monitoring of groundwater while the Site is being remediated. Beginning in 2008 and continuing through early 2010, NJDEP approved all 13 of BP's Remediation Action Workplans (RAWs) detailing how cleanup would be conducted for the various parts of the Site.
In 2010, BP moved its office off-site, clearing more space for the GCIA and its engineers and contractors. Site preparation by the GCIA, including additional demolition, filling and grading work, began. Coordinating closely with the Port entities on scheduling and safety, BP moved forward to implement various remedies on the Site in 2010, including soil excavation, closure of former storm water basins and the capping of several areas as specified in the NJDEP-approved RAWs. Staying on schedule and ahead of the Port construction as it continued in 2011 and 2012, BP completed the design and installation of the remediation systems that would work over the next several years to further clean soil and groundwater beneath the Site. Thanks to advanced planning and thoughtful engineering design (the systems are largely underground), the systems can be operated and maintained with minimal interference and impact to Port operations.
BP is maintaining a six-acre parcel on the Site to house its above-ground systems, including the Groundwater Treatment Plant, the thermal treatment units for the soil vapor extraction systems, the dual phase extraction system, and compressors and generators for the chemical oxidation systems which were added to aggressively remediate source areas.
Since the addition and startup of the new systems in 2013, BP's focus has been on safely operating the systems to have the maximum effect on site cleanup. In 2013, pursuant to the NJDEP-approved RAWs, BP initiated injections of nutrients to enhance natural biological breakdown of residual chemicals in two areas of the Site (RMUs 1B & 1E) where the primary remediation mechanisms (air sparging and soil vapor extraction) have now done their job. In 2014, pursuant to the NJDEP-approved RAWs, BP initiated injections of liquid-chemical oxidants to supplement the cleanup of chemicals on the fringe of the RMU 1C area which is being remediated by an ozone gas injection and soil vapor extraction system. In 2014, BP completed an overhaul of major components of the Groundwater Treatment Plant.
In 2016 BP’s remediation systems had met the active remediation cleanup goals in a number of areas and equipment was either de-activated or used to support cleanup of RMU 1C (the remaining area of active remedy operation). In addition, new injection permit authorizations were obtained from the NJDEP in 2018 for the addition of different liquid-chemical oxidants to further reduce the remaining chemicals in RMU 1C.
The remediation systems BP put in place have operated as planned and redevelopment of the site has progressed, without interruption. The first tenant began shipping steel to and from the new Paulsboro Marine Terminal in March 2017 and today expansion of the wharf facilities is underway. The wharf expansion will allow the Port’s landside business to grow significantly, and new tenants and infrastructure are expected soon.
1991 — BP constructed and began operation of a groundwater treatment plant to aid with the remediation efforts.
1997 — The first SVE remediation system, which was installed in 1997, was expanded and upgraded in 2001/2002.
1999 — The groundwater extraction and treatment system was overhauled and computerized.
2002-2003 — BP co-funded a study examining the best potential uses for the former terminal site and adjacent properties. The result was a recommendation to use the properties as a commercial port.
2003 — BP completed construction of a solar plant on an unused third-party landfill, which supplied up to 10% of the electric power needed to operate the environmental remediation systems at the Site.
2009 — State and local leaders and representatives of BP broke ground for the new Port of Paulsboro. Site preparation work for construction of the Port began.
2011 — BP installed over 160 new remediation wells and started the installation of underground piping to connect the wells to new and existing remediation equipment.
2012 — The GCIA continues with construction activities for the new Port, while BP simultaneously completes the installation and connection of underground piping to new and existing remediation equipment.
2012 — New Ozone Sparge Equipment Enclosures.
2013/2014 — Injection of liquid chemical oxidants to supplement cleanup efforts in area RMU 1-C.
2016 — checking groundwater monitoring wells to verify and track the effectiveness of the remediation.
2017 — Port Grand Opening
2018 — Construction of a landscaped sound barrier by Port
2019 — Construction of 2,700 feet of additional wharf by the Port