USA: EPA Plans Pompton Lake Dredging

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is encouraging members of the public to comment on its proposal to dredge approximately 68,000 cubic yards of mercury contaminated sediment from the bottom of a 26-acre area of Pompton Lake in the Borough of Pompton Lakes, New Jersey and remove 7,800 cubic yards of contaminated soil from a one-acre area adjacent to the lake.

Mercury in the sediment and soil can build up in the tissue of fish and other wildlife and pose a threat to people who eat them. Exposure to mercury can damage people’s nervous system and harm the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs and immune system.

The proposed cleanup is designed to remove 100% of the mercury contamination in the near shore sediment in the Acid Brook Delta of Pompton Lake and clean up soil in the adjacent area to levels that meet stringent standards to protect people and the environment. All of the removed sediment and soil will be sent to a licensed disposal facility. EPA will hold a public hearing on the proposal on January 5, 2012 at 7 PM at the Pompton Lakes High School, 44 Lakeside Avenue in Pompton Lakes. Those who cannot attend the hearing can submit written comments by the January 13, 2012 deadline. After the close of the public comment period, EPA will consider the comments and decide whether to finalize its decision and issue a proposed modified permit for the cleanup of the Acid Brook Delta.

The E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, Inc. operated the Pompton Lakes Works facility, located at 2000 Cannonball Road, from 1902 to April 1994. Products manufactured at the facility included explosive powder containing mercury and lead, detonating fuses, electric blasting caps, metal wires and aluminum and copper shells. The manufacturing operations and waste management practices contaminated soil, sediment, and ground water both on and off-site. Lead and mercury from its operations were released into Acid Brook, which flows through the eastern part of the facility and discharges into the Acid Brook Delta of Pompton Lake. The proposed cleanup of the Acid Brook Delta is the specific focus of the proposed cleanup plan, which requires a permit modification under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Once EPA’s proposal is final, it will be reflected in the modified permit that legally requires DuPont to fund and perform the work. Cleanup will be performed under EPA oversight and is expected to begin in spring 2012.

DuPont’s operations also contaminated the ground water with chlorinated volatile organic compounds, such as tetrachloroethylene, trichloroethylene, cis 1,2-dichloroethylene, and vinyl chloride. Plans to clean up the remaining areas of contamination will be the subject of future proposed permit modifications when investigations have been completed and reviewed by EPA and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.


Dredging Today Staff, November 23, 2011;