PASSAIC COUNTY, NJ — The Administration has pledged to continue cleaning up the heavily polluted Passaic River, a move that worries some local environmentalists.
The lower eight miles of the Passaic River was declared a federal Superfund site in 1984 after years of contamination at the former Diamond Alkali Co. manufacturing facility in Newark. Sediment there contains dioxin, PCBs, heavy metals, pesticides and other contaminants.
Diamond Alkali is one of several responsible parties responsible for what's known as "legacy contamination," or contamination that occurred over several decades by multiple parties.
DDT and other chemicals were made at the Lister Avenue site in Newark in the 1940s. Diamond Alkali owned and manufactured agricultural chemicals, including herbicides in "Agent Orange." Dioxin, an extremely toxic chemical, was a by-product of the manufacturing. The site includes part of the Hackensack River.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) secured a $165 million agreement with Occidental Chemical, one of the responsible parties, in 2016 to clean up the eight miles of the river. However, funding and personnel changes to the EPA could put the cleanup in jeopardy, however.