Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Barges May Haul Dioxin from River

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Barges May Haul Dioxin from River

Article excerpt

LYNDHURST -- Dioxin-laden mud scheduled to be removed from the Passaic River near Riverside County Park next spring will likely be hauled out of the area on small barges rather than by trucks driving through the town, contractors said.

Most of the details on the $20 million project are still being worked out by engineers for the group of 70 companies suspected of polluting the river and by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which approved an agreement last week to dredge and cap a five-acre portion of the river. But the companies and the agency say they want to minimize the project's impact to Lyndhurst residents.

"We want to partner with Lyndhurst," said Bill Potter, a chemical engineer who works for the collection of companies called the Lower Passaic Cooperating Parties. "We want them with us on every decision."

The plan calls for 15,000 to 20,000 cubic yards of contaminated mud to be removed from an area along a sharp bend in the river south of Route 3. Contractors have 60 days to submit designs for the project to the EPA.

Levels of dioxin -- one of the world's most toxic industrial chemicals and a known carcinogen -- reached 21,000 parts per trillion in Lyndhurst, the highest ever recorded at the surface of the Passaic's riverbed. High levels of mercury and PCBs are also in the mudflats close to the riverbank. The lower 17 miles of the Passaic River, from the Dundee Dam in Garfield to Newark Bay, is a Superfund site. The 70 companies, some of which inherited the liability of past polluters, are in the middle of a large-scale investigation of the site.

The Lyndhurst project would be the second major dredging operation on the river, following the removal of 40,000 cubic yards from an area in Newark near the Diamond Alkali plant, where dioxin was dumped for years during the manufacturing of the infamous defoliant Agent Orange. …

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