Monday, March 7, 2016

EPA Finalizes Passaic River Cleanup

One of the Largest Superfund Projects in EPA History Will Protect People’s Health and the Environment 
(New York, N.Y.) In an action that will protect people’s health and the environment, and benefit riverfront communities, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today finalized a plan to remove 3.5 million cubic yards of toxic sediment from the lower eight miles of the Passaic River in New Jersey, followed by capping that entire stretch of river bottom. The sediment in the Passaic River is severely contaminated with dioxin, PCBs, heavy metals, pesticides and other contaminants from more than a century of industrial activity. The lower eight miles of the Passaic is the most heavily contaminated section of the river. Ninety percent of the volume of contaminated sediments in the river are in the lower eight miles.
Key elements of the EPA cleanup plan:
  • 3.5 million cubic yards of contaminated sediment will be removed by dredging the river bottom, bank-to-bank, from Newark Bay to the Belleville/Newark border.
  • Over 100 pollutants identified
  • Approximately 100 companies are potentially responsible for generating and releasing the pollution
  • Sediment will be dewatered and transported likely by train for disposal. Dredged sediment will be sent to licensed, permitted facilities designed to accept the type of contaminants in the sediment.
  • After dredging, the entire lower eight miles of the river will be capped bank-to-bank. The cap will isolate the remaining contaminated sediment, effectively eliminating the movement of a major source of contamination to the rest of the river and Newark Bay.
  • The cleanup is estimated to cost $1.38 billion
“The Passaic River has been seriously damaged by over a century of pollution. Extraordinarily high concentrations of dioxin, PCBs, heavy metals and pesticides have robbed the people of New Jersey from being able to use this natural resource. The EPA’s cleanup plan will improve water quality, protect public health, revitalize waterfront areas and create hundreds of new jobs. This plan is one of the most comprehensive in the nation and will help restore a badly damaged river,” said Judith A. Enck, EPA Regional Administrator.

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