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Healing the Lower Passaic: Diamond Alkali Superfund Cleanup Update

June 9, 2015 at 8:00 am - 9:30 am

Great Swamp Watershed Association HQ

Free - Members

Suggested Donation - Nonmembers

David Kluesner, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 2 team leader for community affairs, returns to provide an update on plans for the remediation of hazardous pollution along the last eight miles of the Passaic River.

A continental breakfast will be served beginning at 8 a.m.

On April 11, 2014 — within 48 hours of David’s last appearance at a GSWA Breakfast Briefing — EPA Region 2 Administrator Judith Enck held a press conference announcing the Agency’s draft plan for addressing contamination along the Lower Passaic. Stretching eight miles from Belleville to Newark Bay, this section of river forms part of the Diamond Alkali Superfund site centered around Newark’s Ironbound district.

For more than 30 years in mid-20th century, Diamond Alkali and other chemical manufacturers used the Passaic River near Lister Avenue in Newark as a dumping ground for hazardous waste products such as PCBs, dioxins, pesticides, and mercury. Embedded in layers of river sediment, tides and currents quickly began spreading these dangerous substances up and down the Passaic from Dundee Dam in Garfield to the river mouth on Newark Bay.

As local chemical manufacturers came and went, an environmental disaster brewed beneath Passaic waters and inside the Ironbound. Residents and government officials remained unaware of any danger until a disturbing finding made by the New Jersey Department of Environmental (NJDEP) in 1983 prompted then-governor Thomas H. Kean to place the entire region in a state of emergency. Within a year, the EPA had added the Diamond Alkali manufacturing plant on Lister Avenue, as well as the last 17 miles of the Passaic River to its Superfund list.

On April 11, 2014 — more than 30 years after that Superfund designation – the EPA finally released a draft plan for dealing with contaminated river sediment associated with Diamond Alkali site. Focused on sediments along the last eight miles of the Passaic River, the plan proposes bank-to-bank dredging of 4.3 million cubic yards of contaminated sediment, and suggests several alternatives for sediment disposal and capping of any remaining pollution. (Plans for addressing contaminated sediment on the remaining nine miles of river northwest of Belleville have yet to be proposed.

Public comments on the proposed remediation plan for the last eight miles of the Passaic were collected through August 20, 2014. The EPA is reviewing those comments in preparation for the release of a final remediation plan.

Planned for this Briefing
Mr. Kluesner will help us understand what has happened to the proposed remediation plan since the public comment period closed in August, when we can expect a finalized plan, and what other considerations, beyond public commentary, will factor into it.


June 9, 2015
8:00 am - 9:30 am
Free - Members
Suggested Donation - Nonmembers


Great Swamp Watershed Association HQ
568 Tempe Wick Rd
Morristown, NJ 07960 United States
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(973) 538-3500x22