Sen. Menendez Applauds EPA’s Plan to Clean Up Two Contaminated Industrial Sites in Essex County

Sen. Menendez Applauds EPA’s Plan to Clean Up Two Contaminated Industrial Sites in Essex County

EPA Proposes Adding Sites to Superfund List

NEWARK, NJ - U.S. Senator Robert Menendez today praised the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plan to clean up two toxic industrial sites in Essex County. The EPA has proposed adding Troy Chemical Corporation in Newark and Unimatic Manufacturing in Fairfield to its National Priorities List.

"The Superfund program is critical for the Garden State," said Sen. Menendez. "The designation will ensure that these contaminated sites in Essex County are properly cleaned up and that the health and well-being of New Jersey residents are protected."

Between 1956 and 1965, Troy Chemical, manufacturer of antimicrobial and antifungal paint additives, was found to have pumped 7,000 gallons per week of untreated mercury-containing wastewater into Pierson's Creek, which feeds into Newark Bay. Mercury is highly toxic. According to the EPA, exposure to even small amounts of mercury can damage the nervous system, brain, heart, kidneys, lungs and immune system. Children and pregnant women are considered especially vulnerable. State Department of Environmental Protection tests of Pierson's Creek, found that the sediment contained as much as 60 percent mercury by weight.

The now-defunct Unimatic facility in Fairfield once manufactured aluminum parts through the process of die casting and used oils containing highly toxic polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) to lubricate the machines. The recent tenant that occupied the site was forced to evacuate after dangerously high levels of PCBs were discovered in July and a health notice was posted. The EPA is investigating whether there is a current company in operation that could be held liable for the pollution.

The Superfund program is the federal government's commitment to clean up the nation's uncontrolled hazardous waste sites and hold the responsible parties accountable. It allows the EPA to force polluters to clean up the site and protects taxpayers by seeking reimbursement for cleanups performed by the EPA.

"I have long been a supporter of the Superfund program and am pleased to see the EPA is acting aggressively to protect New Jersey communities," said Sen. Menendez.

The EPA will publish notices in the Federal Register and invite public comment before either site is formally added to the Superfund list. If approved, New Jersey would have 116 Superfund sites, tops in the nation.