Thursday, April 10, 2014

Breaking News: DuPont Still Isn’t Clean…

By Brianne Bishop

Actually, that’s not breaking news at all. The statement that DuPont still is not clean may act as a surprise to some readers, but to most readers, especially those living in Pompton Lakes, this is not a shocking statement. In fact, it’s a statement that many residents are getting fed up with. Residents have been dealing with a spotty clean up that began in 1990 and took all the way until 2010 to be completed, in part. However, any statement that the cleanup is complete is faulty. According to a report on January 15, 2013 by Jeff Green, a staff writer for The Record, the EPA has discovered that the DuPont pollution extends past the Pompton Lake Dam.

A company doing a study of the soil discovered the extended areas of pollution. The company found mercury laden sediment that was previously thought to have been stationary. It has been found that not only has this sediment not been stationary, but has traveled, and was found in higher concentration quantities downstream, rather than its origin in Acid Brook. The study motivated the EPA to call for the cleanup in the lake to be widened from 26 acres to 40 acres and to include the removal any sediment that is to be further investigated and declared unsafe. The EPA has also required that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service should determine how dangerous the contamination is to aquatic life.

The cleanup will most likely take place this year, or so they say. Before the cleanup can begin, there have to be multiple hoops jumped through in obtaining permits at a state and local level. The chief of the EPA’s correction action and special projects section states that he will not agree to a work plan if it is not flexible enough. The people would like to have regular testing for mercury and testing after the work is done in order to ensure that the cleanup was completed. Officials want to be able to say to DuPont, “clean it” if there is a spot tested that has contaminants.

Not only will the contamination be cleaned out of the Ramapo River-Pompton Lake system, but will also be regularly monitored to ensure that the cleanup was successful. This cleanup was largely moved into effect because of the townspeople. An environmental activist, and a resident, has tried to push mercury testing for over a year. Residents have been getting strongly involved largely because there are 439 homes that have been affected by the contaminated soils.

A pubic meeting was scheduled for April 7 at the Pompton Lakes Elks Lodge involving current, former, and non-residents who have in interest in cleaning up this environmental site. The meeting provides a chance for people to ask questions about the cleanup and voice their concerns.

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