“It’s been a long road since the EPA first added the Lower Passaic River to the Superfund National Priorities List. I am glad we have reached this milestone in our decades-long effort to complete the clean-up of the contamination left behind by a legacy of pollution on this vital waterway. This coordinated, whole of government effort will remove contaminated sediment through capping and dredging and will advance this project exponentially,” said Sen. Menendez. “I commend the Biden-Harris Administration for its commitment to ensuring the Passaic River is restored in order to protect the neighboring families and communities, as well as the fish and wildlife in the river. We have no greater responsibility than the health and safety of the community and no greater duty than keeping our air and water safe and clean for future generations.”
“For decades, the Passaic River has remained one of the most contaminated stretches of water in our nation because corporate polluters dumped toxic waste that severely damaged the local ecology of the site and threatened the health of families in surrounding communities,” said Sen. Booker. “I’m proud to join Deputy Administrator McCabe, colleagues, state officials, and advocates to announce this remediation effort that, in conjunction with work already taking place along the Lower Passaic River, will remove contaminated sediment from the area with minimal disturbance to nearby communities. As this urgently needed cleanup effort begins, it’s vital that we restore the health of the entire Passaic River – that means keeping polluters accountable until the River is completely clean and restored.”
“Investing in communities to make them cleaner, healthier, stronger, and more economically competitive is one of our most important objectives at EPA,” said EPA Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe. “The work we are doing under this plan will provide job opportunities for local residents and it means that the days of continuing contamination in the Passaic River are numbered. I’m looking forward to seeing this river transformed into a sustainable asset in communities that have been overburdened by pollution for far too long.”
The interim action to remove source material is part of the adaptive management approach that EPA is using to reach a final cleanup plan for the Lower Passaic River Study Area. This means that ongoing sampling will be conducted to gauge the progress of the cleanup and assess the river to determine if more work is needed to meet the goals of a final plan. EPA would propose a final cleanup plan for the entire Lower Passaic River at that time.