Feds announce $80M cleanup of Passaic River
London has the Thames, Paris has the Seine, Florence has the Arno — Newark, on the other hand, has the Passaic.
The Passaic River, once the dumping grounds for over seventy companies that took up residence along its banks, will receive a limited cleanup of some key “hotspots” by the EPA. The price tag for the cleanup clocks in at $80 million, revealing a conservative cleanup strategy as compared to the previously reported $900 million to $2.3 billion cost to completely overhaul the troubled waterway.
Fourteen years after a 1994 ruling against Diamond Shamrock, whose managers dumped so much dioxin into the river (a key ingredient to Agent Orange), that employees were sent out with shovels and flashlights to the riverbank at night in order to shovel mounds of the chemical that had washed back ashore back into the river.
The cleanup is scheduled to take about two-and-a-half years to complete. Eating crabs or fish from the river at that point? Not recommended.
Federal officials today outlined a massive, $80 million cleanup of the Passaic River that will remove hundreds of tons of dioxin-laden sediment contaminating the river along a notorious Superfund site in downtown Newark.
“This removal of contaminated sediment from the Passaic is a real down payment on the river’s future,” said Alan Steinberg, EPA Regional Administrator. “Today’s agreement allows us to get the worst contaminants out of the river so it will never haunt the environment again.”