Thursday, April 4, 2013

Five Years Later: Status of DuPont Cleanup

By Jamie Bachar

 Five years after an investigation overseen by representatives from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and United States Environmental Protection Agency of hazardous materials in Pompton Lake from the manufacturing site of the DuPont Pompton Lakes Works, DuPont filed an appeal of a major cleanup plan.

At first, Dupont proposed to remove 68,000 cubic yards of soil and contaminated sediments from 26 acres of the 250-acre Pompton Lake, according to In the final permit, the EPA requested an expansion to include the removal of 100,000 cubic yards of soil and contaminated sediment from 40 acres, due to concerns by the community.

The former DuPont Pompton Lakes Works manufacturing site covered 567 acres in Pompton Lakes and Wanaque in Passaic County, New Jersey. A site investigation found contaminated groundwater due to soil vapor pathways and vapor intrusion.

For a 92-year period, the manufacturing facility produced blasting caps and other explosives, much of it for the U.S. Government in both World Wars. The Pompton Lakes Works closed in 1994, but for all those years chemicals were used during the production process and spilled onto the ground.

Back in the 1990s, DuPont implemented a comprehensive groundwater monitoring program. In 1998, DuPont began operating with a pump and treat system at the plant site, which filters eight million gallons of potentially contaminated water per month.

In a subsequent investigation, it was found after collecting vapor samples from the soil beneath several homes in the community that there were two hazardous volatile organic compounds (VOCs), tetrachloroethene and trichloroethane. Vapor intrusion is defined as the migration of volatile organic compounds from the subsurface into overlying areas. 

DuPont agreed in 2008 to address the potential soil vapor pathway and intrusion by conducting indoor air sampling and installation of a vapor migration system at no cost to the homeowners.

While DuPont has agreed to continue the clean-up process, they want to begin working on the lake site in 2014. As of  now the Environmental Appeals Board has put the permit application on hold for review until further notice.

Meanwhile, Dupont contributes a variety of efforts to support the needs of the local community, including paying local taxes on the long-closed manufacturing site.

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