Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Feds Unveil $11M Cleanup Proposal

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Feds Unveil $11M Cleanup Proposal

Article excerpt

An $11 million cleanup plan for one of the most contaminated industrial sites in the Meadowlands would cap pockets of polluted soil in asphalt and place a barrier over fouled wetlands, according to the proposal unveiled Wednesday by environmental regulators.

The plan by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the Standard Chlorine Superfund site in Kearny is the latest in a series of steps to stop the spread of dioxin, benzene, PCBs and other cancer-causing chemicals into the adjacent Hackensack River.

Though it still needs to be finalized by EPA, the plan drew mixed reaction from two environmental groups that have long pushed for a comprehensive cleanup.

The Hackensack Riverkeeper thought it was a "giant step" toward resuscitating the battered waterway. The New Jersey Sierra Club said capping offered only a temporary fix and that all contaminants should be removed.

Pollution dates to 1916 when manufacturing began at the 25-acre site and continued until 1993 when the last business shut down. Products like mothballs, lead-acid batteries and drain cleaner were made at the property off Belleville Turnpike next to train tracks used by four NJ Transit rail lines and Amtrak.

Cleanup of the site began over the ensuing years, conducted and paid for by four companies held liable for the pollution: Apogent Transition Corp., Beazer East Inc., Cooper Industries LLC and Occidental Chemical Corp.

Some contaminated buildings were demolished. Two contaminated lagoons were drained and filled with clean material. A barrier wall was installed along the shoreline.

But the cleanup overseen by the state Department of Environmental Protection drew criticism when New Jersey officials sought to redevelop the site with warehouses or use it as a train yard. Environmental groups wanted the polluters held to more rigorous cleanup standards.

Standard Chlorine became a Superfund site with EPA oversight in 2007. …

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