By Luan Madani
The DuPont plant, which produced explosives, left years and years of contamination in Pompton Lakes. High rates of cancer in a Pompton Lakes neighborhood offers evidence of this grim reality that runoff from the plant site contaminated the area. The soil and water became polluted due to DuPont’s negligence in disposing of their toxic waste. Organic compounds such as tetrachloroethylene, which is classified as a carcinogen, were found in homes.
Cleanup of the area, which has taken a long time to begin with, was scheduled to begin in the Spring of this year but has been delayed yet again until 2013. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service objected to a plan to dredge 26 acres in Pompton Lake, deeming that plan insufficient to protect wildlife. DuPont was in operation for over 50 years and left a long trail of contamination that would take more than just 26 acres to clean up.
Mercury is the main contaminant within the area that has collected near the Acid Brook delta in the lake. It is believed that DuPont dumped its contaminates for years from its plant site; the mercury-contaminated water has run off into parts of the town and emptied into Pompton Lake.
Another major concern is if cleaning the lake would even have an effect due to the fact that the plant site would remain contaminated. The DuPont plant stood on nearly 570 acres of land upstream of the lake.
Residents of the area have grown tired of the promises to clean up the contaminants and are eager to get the process underway. Over the past two years, studies have shown an unusually high number of hospitalization rates among residents. As mentioned above, cancer cases have risen substantially.
Currently, the issue has not reached the federal Superfund list; however, if clean up efforts do not begin soon, residents will be sure to push the issue further. However, the EPA is still promising to get the area cleaned up. One can speculate that putting the area on the Superfund list would help the clean up efforts and is something residents should look into.