"Toxic Passaic River to Get $1.38 Billion Cleanup Over 10 Years"

State and federal officials Friday announced a plan to clean up more than a century's worth of toxic pollution from the lower eight miles of the Passaic river, in one of the largest and most expensive projects under EPA's 35-year-old Superfund program.

"NEWARK — The Passaic River was once the backbone of an industrial corridor, snaking through this stretch of northern New Jersey and sustaining the factories and plants that cropped up alongside it. But now, the river’s banks are dotted by deserted manufacturing sites while the waterway remains scarred after decades as a dumping ground for industrial pollutants that linger in the water and have seeped into the soil.

These days in Newark, the Passaic, rather than serve as a draw, is something to be avoided, known by residents for the stench of its murky waters and the signs along the banks warning them not to eat the fish or the blue claw crabs they pull from it. ...

On Friday, environmental officials announced that they had made final a plan to remove more than a century’s worth of industrial toxins from the lower eight miles of the Passaic, the most dangerously tainted ribbon of the river. The project, officials said, would be among the most ambitious and expensive cleanup efforts in the 35-year history of the federal Superfund program.

It will cost about $1.38 billion to dredge more than 3.5 million cubic yards of sediment laden with chemicals, pesticides, heavy metals and other contaminants, said Judith A. Enck, the regional administrator of the federal Environmental Protection Agency. She noted the volume of dredged contaminants would be the largest ever under the Superfund program, enough to fill Red Bull Arena, a soccer stadium along the river, three times."

Noah Remnick and Rick Rojas report for the New York Times March 4, 2016.

Source: NY Times, 03/07/2016