Berry’s Creek Plan on the Table

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took an important step towards addressing serious contamination in the Berry’s Creek Study Area, which is part of the Ventron/Velsicol Superfund site in Bergen County, N.J., by proposing a plan to take actions to address known sources of the contamination.

The proposed plan will address the worst contamination first as EPA develops a final plan to ensure a comprehensive cleanup of the entire site,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “We are making tremendous progress expediting sites through the entire Superfund remediation process, ensuring polluted areas are addressed quickly and thoroughly.”

The actions proposed will mean that we get to the worst pollution in this area first, while we continue to assess what other actions might be needed in the future,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez.

Berry’s Creek is a tributary to the Hackensack River traveling through Carlstadt, East Rutherford, Lyndhurst, Moonachie, Rutherford, Teterboro, and Wood-Ridge, and includes approximately six miles of waterway, tributaries to the creek, and approximately 750 acres of marshes.

The major contaminants in the Berry’s Creek Study Area are mercury and PCBs and chromium, which are at high levels in the water and sediment and are also found in the plant and animal life.

The proposed cleanup plan includes bank-to-bank removal of sediment down to 2 feet in portions of the creek with backfilling and capping equal to the depth removed.

The proposed approach is an interim step to address the worst of the pollution. EPA will issue a final plan after further studies evaluate whether the cleanup has been effective. A future cleanup plan for the marsh areas also will be developed.

EPA expects that the estimated $332 million proposed cleanup would be conducted and paid for by a group of parties legally responsible for the contamination with oversight by the EPA.

The EPA will hold a public meeting on May 9th in Little Ferry (NJ) to explain the cleanup proposal and other options considered and to take public comments.