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Friday, January 23, 2015

New Jersey: Toxic legacy remains

Today's post is shared from

One of government's most basic responsibilities is protecting public health. That's not happening in Ringwood with a notorious old dump that is now a Superfund site.

Rather than remove more than 100,000 tons of toxic waste dumped about 40 years ago by the Ford Motor Co., the borough wants to build a recycling center on top of it. That's bad enough.

What's even worse is that the state Department of Environmental Protection is going along with the plan, according to a letter the agency sent recently to an attorney representing the borough. Nearby residents should be outraged that borough and state officials are seemingly so unconcerned about a real risk to public health.

The dumping site, which is off Peters Mine Road and near where many members of the Ramapough Lenape Nation live, has had a particularly sordid history.

Ford, which once had a plant in nearby Mahwah, began disposing paint sludge in the wooded terrain in the late 1960s, when such dumping was not uncommon. The federal Environmental Protection Agency oversaw a cleanup of the site in the early 1990s and, in 1994, proclaimed the area free of contaminants. That was not true. After a series by The Record in 2005 found that huge amounts of waste were still in the ground, properly cleaning up the area was again an issue.

The borough's plan is to cover the contaminated area with a 2-foot layer of soil and synthetic material. A recycling center would then be constructed on top. It is not unusual for old dumps, or...

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