Thursday, April 4, 2013

DuPont Resumes Cleanup Along Wanaque River

By Steven Aliano

As of March 4, DuPont is preparing to remove more contaminated soil on the western side of its property in Pompton Lakes. The news comes from an informal meeting that DuPont officials held on February 20 at the company’s information center to keep others informed of the work they’re doing.

Councilman Mike Serra explained that the meeting was held for residents of Pompton Lakes near the Senior Housing district on Hunter Place (located near the Wanaque River adjacent to the western side of DuPont’s property) who had been inquiring about the DuPont vehicles in the area. A spokesperson for DuPont said that the company had done some work along the side of the property in years past, and that more work will be done in this area. The work will require the removal of hazardous materials such as lead and mercury from the soil, which will then be replaced with clean soil. The senior housing district itself is not contaminated, so no harm has been done for those worried about DuPont’s contamination spread.

In the 1980s it was discovered that toxins had been found near more than 400 homes in Pompton Lakes from DuPont, which manufactured explosives in the area from 1902 to 1994. DuPont arranged with homeowners to test the air that in 2008 showed signs of emitting PCE and TCE (a chemical in dry cleaning solutions and also to clean industrial machinery). DuPont is currently in the process of getting federal permission to remove 78,000 cubic yards of lead, mercury, and other contaminants from sediment in Pompton Lake. The project for the western side of the property is just one of many projects to come.

Given what DuPont has done in polluting the Pompton Lakes area, they seem to have a very proactive approach to solving the problem. It surprises me that they have taken this long since being out of business for more than 15 years, but it seems that they have taken responsibility for their actions and are doing everything that they can to remove the contaminants. DuPont’s actions here are the complete opposite of the way the Ford Company treated the situation in Ringwood. They are going to the households in question and doing tests, whereas Ford gave little care to those neighboring areas that were affected by the contamination.     

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