The Recommendations and Strategies to Clean the Passaic River – What You Can Do!
The riverbed of the Lower Passaic River has been contaminated with toxic chemicals for over 100 years. Over the course of more than two decades, the river has been the subject of many studies. But the contaminated material has never been removed. The longer we wait, the further the contamination spreads.
Now is the time to clean the Passaic River.
At the Passaic River Coalition (PRC), we believe:
– Dredging all 17 miles of the Lower Passaic River and Newark Bay will significantly improve water quality and ensure that the contaminants will not create problems for future generations.
– The dredged sediment SHOULD NOT be reburied in a Confined Disposal Facility (CDF) in Newark Bay.
– A land based treatment facility should be built in the region that will decontaminate the dredged material and produce a safe and useful product.
– Navigability should be taken into consideration when plans are developed to dredge the river. We need to envision a future where the river is used, particularly for recreational and commercial boating, and let that vision guide cleanup plans.
– There are many different companies and government agencies that can and should help pay for the cleanup project. A financing plan needs to be created.
– The U.S. Department of Defense should be included as a potentially responsible party and financially contribute to the clean-up because of their historic involvement with polluting industries on the river.
The PRC needs your help to make sure the Lower Passaic River is cleaned the right way, and soon.
– You can financially support the PRC . Your donation is tax-deductible.
– If you are municipal official, your town council can pass a resolution in support of cleaning the river and demanding faster action.
– If you are a concerned citizen, let your municipal, state, and federal representatives know that you support:
o Dredging the river
o A land based treatment facility with a beneficial use product
o The creation of a navigation channel
o Acceleration of the cleanup timeline
– Contact the PRC at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like us to give a presentation about cleaning the river to a group or at a council meeting or if you need help in identifying your elected officials.
Remember . . . Improving water quality isn¡¯t just our goal, it¡¯s your future!
The following is a brief introduction to the contamination and cleanup of the Lower Passaic River. Be sure to
visit our site periodically as we will continue to post more information and resources.
The Lower Passaic River
A concern of the Passaic River Coalition is that while all 17 miles of the Lower Passaic River are contaminated
with toxic substances, only the lower 8 miles of the river will be cleaned. The towns of Belleville, Newark,
Harrison, East Newark, and Kearny will benefit from the cleaning of the lower 8 miles. But towns along the
upper 9 miles ¨C Clifton, Passaic, Nutley, North Arlington, Lyndhurst, Rutherford, East Rutherford, Wallington,
and Garfield ¨C deserve a cleaner and usable river too. The contamination that has spread into Newark Bay
should be removed as well so the Bay can be properly maintained for its commercial shipping uses.
The most pressing environmental problem facing the Lower Passaic River is the presence of toxic substances
in the sediment in the riverbed. The back and forth currents created by ocean tides have been spreading this
contamination up and down the river for a very long time. These toxic substances include:
– PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls)
– PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons)
The Benefits of Cleaning the River
The sediments of the Lower Passaic River are contaminated and that means the river cannot be used by
humans or other living creatures. We have waited long enough, cleaning the river now means that:
– the river could be used for more recreational and commercial boating
– it would be safer to fish in the river
– wildlife diversity would improve
– more businesses could be built near the waterfront
– communities could safely and easily enjoy the river
The Status of the Cleanup
– 1984: The United State Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identified the Diamond Alkali Property in Newark as a site containing a large amount of toxic substances.
– 2003: Congressmen Pascrell and Menendez started the Lower Passaic River Restoration Project in order to gain federal assistance for a comprehensive cleanup project.
– June 2007: A draft Focused Feasibility Study was released that explains options for cleaning the lower 8 miles.
o This study is still being discussed and no decisions have been made regarding a cleanup
o Options for the upper 9 miles have not been discussed at all.
– June 2008: The EPA announced that Occidental Chemical Corporation and Tierra Solutions (two companies related to an original polluter) will pay for a cleanup project in the river directly in front of the Diamond Alkali Property.
o This project will remove highly contaminated sediment from a strip of riverbed about 0.8
miles long and 100 feet wide.
o Details of this plan have yet to be released.
Lower Passaic River Restoration Project Comments
Comments that were prepared by
Anne L. Kruger, Ph.D., Technical Advisor,
Diamond Alkali Superfund Site (Lower Passaic River and Newark Bay) &
Ella F. Filippone, Former Executive Administrator, Passaic River Coalition,
and submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region II,
regarding the following topics:
Perspectives of Cooperating Parties Group (CPG) on Lower Passaic River Restoration Project (LPRRP) Presented to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Contaminated Sediments Technical Advisory Group (CSTAG) on 13 February 2008