Rare Earths/W.R. Grace

State: New Jersey
Location: Wayne
Time Period: AWE 1950-1960; Residual Radiation 1961-1984; 1988-2001;
DOE 1985 -1987 (remediation)
Facility Type: Atomic Weapons Employer Department of Energy

Facility Description

Rare Earths extracted thorium from monazite sands from 1950-1960 under various contracts with the AEC. The AEC needed the thorium for its weapons program. Although the processing of monazite sands continued at Rare Earths through 1971, it was no longer performed under contract for the AEC, but rather was for commercial purposes.

Remediation activities were conducted from 1985-1987 by Thermo Analytical/Eberline and Bechtel National Inc. (BNI) under the BNI umbrella contract as part of the Formerly Utilized Site Remediation Action Program (FUSRAP).

During the period of residual contamination, as designated by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and as noted in the dates above, employees of subsequent owners and operators of this facility are also covered under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act.


Rare Earths/W.R. Grace is listed as an Atomic Weapons Employer (AWE) site and as a Department of Energy (DOE) site under the EEOICPA.


As of 05/17/2015, the total compensation paid under Parts B and E of the EEOICPA, including medical compensation, for workers suffering from the effects of having worked at Rare Earths/W.R. Grace is $475.

Rare Earths/W.R. Grace Workers

If you or your parent worked at this or any other AWE facility and became ill, you may be entitled to compensation of up to $400K plus medical benefits from the US Department of Labor. Call EEOICPA Counsel Hugh Stephens at 1-855-EEOICPA (336-4272) or fill out the form to the right, even if your claim has been accepted or denied.

We can help with all OWCP (Federal Workers Compensation) claims, impairments, wage loss and health care. 2495 Main Street, Suite 442 Buffalo, NY.

Site Description and History

The Wayne, New Jersey, Site (previously called the Wayne Interim Storage Site) is located at 868 Black Oak Ridge Road in Wayne Township in northern New Jersey. The site sits at the intersection of Black Oak Ridge Road and Pompton Plains Crossroad, approximately 20 miles north-northwest of Newark. The site is fenced and roughly rectangular in shape, covering approximately 6.5 acres.

In 1948, Rare Earths, Inc., began processing monazite sand to extract thorium and rare earth metals and, in doing so, buried contaminated waste materials on the site. W.R. Grace & Company acquired the facility in 1957, and processing continued until 1971, when the plant closed. Applied Health Physics, Inc., decontaminated the buildings in 1974, and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission released the property for unrestricted use in 1975.

An aerial radiological survey in 1981 identified elevated radiation levels at the site and west along Sheffield Brook. Subsequent walkover surveys conducted in 1982 confirmed that concentrations of surface radionuclide contamination were greater than acceptable U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) remedial action guidelines at the time.

The Wayne site was designated for remedial action under the DOE Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP) in 1984. That same year, DOE purchased the site to use for storage of contaminated vicinity property material, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) added the site to the National Priorities List (NPL).

Although thorium was the principal contaminant detected, radium, uranium, and nonradioactive metals were also identified at the site. Two types of contaminated media were present: source materials (soil, processing waste, and bulk waste) and building materials from an onsite structure. DOE conducted cleanup work on the site from 1985 to 1993. Additional cleanup at several offsite locations, called vicinity properties, was primarily conducted between 1985 and 1987 and completed in 1993.

Excavated vicinity property materials were placed in an interim storage pile on top of the site’s process waste pits because a permanent waste disposal facility was not available at the time.

In 1997, the agency assigned to complete Wayne site cleanup, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), removed an estimated 58,000 cubic yards of contaminated material from the interim storage site and disposed of it in a licensed, offsite facility. The materials included those from the waste pit and affected soil and debris from beneath the footprint of the former pile. USACE began a long-term groundwater monitoring program in 2002 that continued through 2006.

Preparations for site closeout included a document review, which identified two vicinity properties in need of additional cleanup. Both had been remediated in the 1980s to criteria that were less stringent than those specified in the Record of Decision. The additional work was completed under an Explanation of Significant Difference to the Record of Decision.

The results from 5 years of groundwater monitoring indicated that site activities did not degrade groundwater quality, which meant the site met the criteria for unrestricted use. EPA Region II completed an inspection in September 2003 and verified that remedial action was completed at the Wayne site and its vicinity properties.


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If you or your parent worked any of the DOE or AWE facilities listed on this website and became ill, you may be entitled to compensation of up to $400K plus medical benefits from the US Department of Labor.

Call EEOICPA Counsel Hugh Stephens at 1-800-548-4494, email hstephens@stephensstephens.com, or fill out the form below whether or not you have already filed a claim and even if your claim has been accepted or denied.

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R. William Stephens, Esq.
R. Hugh Stephens, Esq.
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