EPA Finalizes Passaic River Cleanup


New York, N.Y. –  In an action that will protect people’s health and the environment, and benefit riverfront communities, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has finalized a plan to remove 3.5 million cubic yards of toxic sediment from the lower eight miles of the Passaic River in New Jersey, followed by capping that entire stretch of river bottom.

The sediment in the Passaic River is severely contaminated with dioxin, PCBs, heavy metals, pesticides and other contaminants from more than a century of industrial activity.

The lower eight miles of the Passaic is the most heavily contaminated section of the river. Ninety percent of the volume of contaminated sediments in the river are in the lower eight miles.

The lower 17 miles of the Passaic River, which stretches from its mouth at Newark Bay to the Dundee Dam, are part of the Diamond Alkali Superfund site. The Diamond Alkali site was added to the federal Superfund List in 1984. From 1983 to 2001 EPA-directed cleanup work was conducted on land at the former Diamond Alkali facility and in the streets and homes near it.

Most of the work to-date to clean up the Passaic has been performed by parties responsible for the contamination.

The EPA will pursue agreements to ensure that the cleanup work in the lower eight miles will be carried out and paid for by those responsible for the pollution as required by the Superfund law.