From 1902 to 1994, the DuPont Chemical company dumped chemicals into New Jersey’s Pompton Lakes. While the company abandoned the explosives site years ago, it has yet to clean up the mess it left behind. The closed work site is still owned by DuPont.
For decades, families like mine have been suffering from the toxic pollution left in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey by DuPont Chemical. Hundreds of families suffer from poisonous gases in the soil that migrate up into our basements. The air we breathe inside our homes is filled with cancer-causing TCE, and the full extent of all this pollution in our community is still not fully understood.
DuPont Chemical, the company responsible for this pollution, has had years to clean up their mess--but they have failed. It's time the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) declare Pompton Lakes a Superfund site and take over the clean-up once and for all.
Two years ago, the New Jersey Department of Human Health and Senior Services released a shocking report with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. It found a "significantly elevated" cancer rate in the region potentially linked to contamination from the Pompton Lakes DuPont explosives site. DuPont Chemical has proposed a five-year cleanup plan--but that plan will not make our community safe.
DuPont's plan does not address the high levels of mercury, lead, and other toxic chemicals that they left in our creeks and lakes.
It’s clear that DuPont doesn’t care about the Pompton Lakes community, so it’s up to the USEPA to take a stand and protect our health. The USEPA must list this site on the federal Superfund National Priorities list. Cleanup cannot be left in the hands of DuPont Chemical.
Unfortunately, under the control of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) for the last two decades, the Pompton Lakes DuPont Works site leaked chemicals, languishing unremediated, and DuPont dragged their feet while residents continued to be breathe in toxic gases. While the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) is now a co-lead on the remediation, a lack of trust with the State of New Jersey still plagues the community with a stalled installation of vapor mitigation systems.
At numerous pubic meetings, the USEPA stated many times that the Pompton Lakes DuPont Works Site would more than qualify for Superfund status. In fact, this site was given a Hazardous Ranking Score of “68” in 1982, which is almost three times the “28.5” score needed to qualify for Superfund status. This scoring would have likely been worse if it included mercury or vapor intrusion pathway of exposure.
In addition, USEPA’s Region 2, at the Pompton Lakes DuPont Works site affects more people by vapor intrusion than any other site. More than 450 homes are blighted by toxic vapor gases rising through their basements from the trichloroethylene-contaminated groundwater plume.
In addition, Superfund means community participation is required by law. Under the current RCRA status, community participation is optional, whereas Superfund requires community involvement and addresses community concerns in writing. Listing this as a Superfund site would guarantee that Pompton Lakes families have real community involvement incorporating the community’s input before, not after, decisions are made on specific cleanup options and permits. A perfect example is the recently approved cleanup of Pompton Lake, which was approved behind closed doors without public input.
In closing, I request that USEPA immediately designate the Pompton Lakes DuPont Works site as a federal Superfund Site under CERCLA. I appreciate your timely assistance on this important matter, as hundreds of families continue to suffer from poisonous gases rising into their homes.
Thank you for taking immediate action.