EPA Postpones Pompton Lake Dredging (USA)

 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is committed to a comprehensive cleanup of the DuPont Pompton Lakes Works hazardous waste site in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey with full interaction with the community.

Soil and sediment in areas of the former manufacturing site, the Acid Brook Delta and Pompton Lake were contaminated by mercury and lead, and ground water underlying neighboring homes was contaminated by volatile organic compounds from past operations at the former munitions manufacturing facility.

The EPA is working with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection on plans to clean up areas of the manufacturing site, the ground water and the lake sediment on separate tracks. Various investigations and ongoing work at the site are being conducted and paid for by DuPont with EPA and NJDEP oversight.

In November 2011, the EPA announced a proposed plan to dredge 68,000 cubic yards of mercury-contaminated sediment from the bottom of the lake and to remove 7,800 cubic yards of contaminated soil from an area adjacent to the lake. Over the past weeks, the Agency has been reviewing the extensive comments it received on the proposed plan and additional scientific data and information related to lake contamination. In reaching its final decision, EPA must ensure that any final cleanup is comprehensive, based on science and protects people’s health and the environment.

In light of concerns raised by many members of the community during the public comment period, scientific data, and the need to have plans in place to protect the health and safety of community members during the dredging project, the EPA will not at this time finalize the permit modification needed to start the dredging project. The EPA will, however, continue work to address the comments it received from the public and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the proposed lake cleanup plan. The Agency will require DuPont to begin cleanup work as soon as possible after a final decision on the cleanup plan has been reached and to adhere to a timeline that moves the project forward promptly and effectively, taking seasonal restrictions and permit requirements into consideration. EPA’s goal is to finalize the permit in sufficient time for preliminary construction work to begin this fall and for dredging to start in spring 2013.

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Dredging Today Staff, February 22, 2012; Image: usace

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