Communities Have Waited 40 Years for a Clean Passaic River

The Diamond Alkali/Tierra Solutions/Occidental Chemical Superfund site on the Passaic River and Newark Bay is the most dioxin contaminated water site in the country. NY/NJ Baykeeper is co-chair, along with Ironbound Community Corporation, of the Passaic River Superfund Citizens Advisory Group (CAG) which provides advice and cleanup and restoration recommendations to the Environmental Protection Agency and its Partner Agencies.  NY/NJ Baykeeper fights to hold all pollution contributors legally responsible for the harmful damage at the  Superfund site.

In March 2016, EPA released a final $1.4 billion cleanup plan. The cleanup will be a bank-to-bank dredge of 3.5 million cubic yards of contaminated sediment removed from the lower 8 miles of the River. The sediment will be disposed offsite and out of state. The plan will be beneficial in long term effectiveness, will reduce toxicity, ecological impacts, and risk to human health.

However, only $150 million of the total $1.4 has been secured from 85 responsible parties that are liable for the pollution. The EPA recently issued an administrative order requiring Occidental Chemical Corp (OxyChem) to design the interim cleanup plan for the upper 9 miles. OxyChem, although responsible for the lion’s share of the cleanup for dumping cancer-causing dioxin into the river, is now threatening to use delay tactics to avoid paying up. Money spent on OxyChem’s avoidance campaign would be much better spent on getting the river cleaned up for the communities along its banks.

It’s time for OxyChem to step up. We’re continuing to support EPA and push for OxyChem to pay their fair share. Communities along the Passaic have waited 40 years for this and deserve a clean river.