American Cyanamid NPL Site

State TrusteeState of New Jersey
Federal TrusteeDepartment of Commerce
AO Bureau

Also Known As


Incident Type



New Jersey

Case Status



Raritan River


Contaminants of Concern Include

Affected DOI Resources Include

Anadromous Fish, Migratory Birds

Case Description

The American Cyanamid site is located along the Raritan River in Bridgewater Township, New Jersey. The property had been used for chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing operations for almost a century. The Calco Corporation began manufacturing rubber chemicals and dyes on the site in 1915. The American Cyanamid Company purchased the facility in 1929 and manufactured chemicals, dyes, pigments, fungicides, pharmaceuticals, and petroleum-based products with peak production during and immediately after World War II. During this time, the facility expanded to 575 acres. The company began to downsize in the late 1970s and organic chemical and dye production was phased out by 1982. American Cyanamid merged with American Home Products in 1994, and the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals continued until 1999 when the facility ceased operations. American Home Products was renamed Wyeth, LLC in 2002 and its pharmaceutical holdings were acquired by Pfizer Inc. in 2009.
Industrial activities at the facility contaminated soil and groundwater with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), cyanide, and heavy metals. Cuckolds (Cuckel’s) Brook, a tributary of the Raritan River, was used as a conduit for untreated liquid waste from the early 1900s through the 1930s, when a dispersant weir was constructed to increase the mixing of the plant's untreated effluent into the Raritan River. American Cyanamid began some waste treatment in 1940. In response to complaints from local communities regarding odor, the color of the water flowing down the river, and impacts to fish and wildlife, waste treatment was enhanced during the 1950s through the 1970s. Direct discharge into the Raritan River ceased in 1985. In addition, there were sixteen unlined impoundments containing iron oxide, wastewater sludges, tars, and general debris, and four hazardous waste lagoons that required closure. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) added the American Cyanamid site to the Superfund Program's National Priorities List (NPL) in September 1983. Remedial activities were initiated by American Cyanamid with oversight by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and continued with American Home Products and Wyeth. In 1998, EPA removed a 140-acre area, known as the Hill Property, from the Superfund site, and it was later redeveloped through NJDEP’s Brownfields reuse program. Pfizer is currently conducting the remedial activities on the remaining 435 acres with EPA oversight and NJDEP providing technical support.
The Natural Resource Trustees identified two restoration projects as compensation for in-river injury from the facility: the removal of the Weston Mill Dam, located on the Millstone River, and a design and feasibility study of ways to improve fish passage at the Island Farm Weir, the remaining barrier to migratory fish passage in the lower 30 miles of the Raritan River. The Trustees and the Potentially Responsible Party (PRP) negotiated a settlement that incorporated implementation of these projects in granting a limited release for in-river injury caused by the discharge of hazardous substances at the site. Both of these restoration objectives have been completed.
The Trustees continue to work with the PRP to reach a settlement that will compensate for injuries other than in-river injuries that occurred as a result of the release of hazardous substances. A Draft Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment (RP/EA) for the wetlands, floodplain, and riparian injury portion of the claim was released for 30-day public comment in May of 2023. A preferred restoration alternative was identified in the plan: a 112-acre forested floodplain restoration on a property adjacent to the Raritan River and approximately three miles upstream from the American Cyanamid site, and would consist of establishing intermittently flooded, palustrine forested and scrub-shrub native plants interspersed with ephemeral vernal pools in a riparian area. This restoration and forthcoming settlement will address all remaining injured resources at the site.
 Document TypeDocument NameDocument Date


 MOA/MOU American Cyanamid Trustee MOA 09/30/2016


 Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment American Cyanamid RP/EA 11/03/2016
 Restoration Plan Final Floodplain, Riparian, and Wetlands RP/EA for the American Cyanamid Superfund Site 12/12/2023
 FONSI Signed FONSI and clearance memos 10/19/2016


 Consent Decree Natural Resources Restoration Consent Decree 02/01/2017

No publications have been entered for this case.

Map View

Case Contact

New Jersey Ecological Services Field Office

4 East Jimmie Leeds Road, Suite 4, Galloway, NJ 08205 | (609) 383-3938 |

Case Trustees

AO Bureau
Federal TrusteeDepartment of Commerce
State TrusteeState of New Jersey

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