What is now a nondescript paved lot on Clark Street in Garfield was once the site of the E.C. Electroplating plant. In 1983, a chemical storage tank failure dumped three tons of carcinogenic chromium into the ground, leaving some residents unable to enter their basements even to this day. While the site has made significant progress—the building was torn down and 14 feet of contaminated soil was replaced with clean soil and then paved over—the fight still isn’t over as the EPA fights to resolve groundwater issues caused by the more than 30-year-old spill and subsequent environmental damage.
Funding for cleanup at the Garfield Groundwater Contamination site is only secured until 2017. Remediation will not be completed unless an alternate funding source can be secured.
On Monday, Senators Cory Booker and Bob Menendez, Congressmen Bill Pascrell (D-8) and Frank Pallone (D-6) and local administrators gathered at the site to announce the reintroduction of legislation in both the Senate and the House that would require the industries that contaminated Superfund sites to fund cleanup.
“You make the mess, you clean in up. It’s as simple as that,” Menendez said from within the gated area that blocks the hundreds of homes in the neighborhood from the former site of E.C. Electroplating. “If you profited from polluting the environment then you should pay to clean up the mess you leave behind.”