The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has started overseeing the sampling and removal of around 200 to 300 chemical drums and containers found at the former manufacturing facility in Howell Township, it said in an April community update. It is not yet clear what type of chemicals the drums and containers hold, the EPA said.
EPA spokesperson Stephen McBay told CNN Sunday there is “no immediate need for evacuations” as the agency actively conducts cleanup at the site.
The EPA has placed 24/7 security on the property and said it has installed a perimeter fence “to ensure there is no illegal trespassing on or around the site.”
The site is the former location of Compounders Inc., which manufactured chemical compounds, including glues, adhesives, and asphalt materials, according to the EPA. Compounders operated until 2019. The current owner – who has not been publicly identified – purchased the business in 2021.
The cleanup comes after a local fire department discovered materials burning inside an old metal structure at the site on February 9, the EPA said. Firefighters found numerous drums and smelled a chemical odor before putting out the fire and called in other agencies for support in addressing potentially hazardous materials.
The department then asked for assistance from the EPA, which said it found “breaches in the front fence of the property and no fence securing any other side of the property.” The EPA also observed containers that were leaking and labeled as hazardous materials, it said.