By Victoria Ahlers
Over the next two years, officials are hoping to launch a clean-up that will address what remains of the complex contamination from the DuPont munitions plant in Pompton Lakes. In the coming months, the EPA will roll out a series of measures to ensure that this gets done. Requests to add the site to the federal Superfund list have been brushed off for some time now; however, recent studies have charted a plume of contaminated groundwater that is releasing toxic vapors into homes between the plant and the lake.
The DuPont plant was in operation for nearly a century, closing in 1994. In that time, the 570-acre plant polluted its own grounds and adjacent waterways. The first signs of problems were in the 1980’s. At a January 5 hearing, held by the EPA, the agency showed no signs of dropping a DuPont plan to dredge mercury-laced sentiment from 25.8 acres of the 250-acre lake. The EPA promised renewed efforts this year to stop the plume, as well as an initiative to more thoroughly remove contaminated soil from the plant, which could begin in 2013.
The residents of Pompton Lakes are skeptical of these promises. The solvents in the plume have been linked to cancers, which has become a sore point in the town, since it seems to have a “cluster” of the disease. Over the past two years, an ongoing study by the state Department of Health and the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry has found unusually high hospitalization rates among local residents. with some types of cancers.
Whether or not the issue eventually reaches the federal Superfund list, the EPA is still reassuring residents that more efforts will be done to continue clean-up efforts in the area.