Continuing in his commitment to Pompton Lakes residents affected by groundwater contamination, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-8) today hosted a meeting of borough elected officials, community leaders, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, USEPA Region 2 Administrator Judith Enck, and top officials from the E. I. DuPont Company. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) joined the meeting via teleconference.
"This was a productive meeting that brought together borough residents and local officials with an Obama administration cabinet member and high-ranking DuPont officials," said Pascrell, who was among three federal lawmakers who called for EPA intervention in January. "My job is to make sure the federal government is working quickly and doing everything it can to ensure that DuPont meets its deadlines for addressing and mitigating the contamination."
Among the meeting's outcomes are the following:
The Environmental Protection Agency has agreed to expand the list of contractors that perform sub-slab pretesting of homes in the contaminated area. Within two weeks, residents will be provided up to 10 choices of contractors in addition to the two currently available through the NJDEP and DuPont. The EPA has agreed to review several contractors that have been interviewed by local environmental and concerned citizens groups from the town.
To meet concerns about depreciating home values, DuPont has agreed to review the possibility of implementing a property value protection program to ensure that residents in the plume area's investment in their homes are protected. A similar program successful in Pompton Lakes in the early 1990s.
DuPont has announced they will conduct a groundwater remediation pilot program in October to evaluate several technologies to clean up the contamination in the plume. The results will be evaluated next summer to determine which technology is best and what feasible options exists to fully remediate the site.
In the interests of public disclosure and transparency, the EPA and DuPont have agreed to make the full history of data collected at the test wells publically available. The possibility of drilling additional test wells will be considered as a means to verify the plume is not migrating horizontally.
DuPont has agreed to test the sediment in the south areas of Pompton Lakes near the Ramapo River to ensure that no contaminated sediment migrated during the recent flooding.
Today's meeting in the House Ways and Means Committee Library fulfilled a commitment Rep. Pascrell made on March 26 in Pompton Lakes. After leading a discussion with Jackson, state environmental officials and Pompton Lakes officials and residents, Rep. Pascrell said he would arrange a meeting in Washington bring the stakeholders together with DuPont officials.
E.I. DuPont Company conducted operations at 2000 Cannonball Road from 1902 to April 1994, when the facility closed. DuPont manufactured lead azide, aluminum, or bronze shelled blasting caps and operated processes producing metal wires, aluminum and copper shells. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and the EPA require cleanup of the facility.
In May 2008, EPA and NJDEP received data from DuPont documenting soil gas concentrations elevated above the latest soil gas screening level in an off-side plume that had emanated from the site into a residential area of Pompton Lakes. In June 2008, EPA and NJDEP approved DuPont's plan to install of vapor mitigation systems in all structures potentially impacted by the plume and conduct additional vapor and ground water investigation. There are 439 structures present in the vapor mitigation area. In November 2009, EPA and NJDEP required DuPont to conduct additional evaluation of potential groundwater treatment technologies to remediate the off-site volatile organic plume.
In December 2009, a report was released by the NJ Department of Health and Senior Service showing an increased incidence of certain types of cancer amongst residents of Pompton Lakes where the groundwater was contaminated. The report did not specify a causal relationship between the environmental exposure and the higher incidences of certain cancer, although the particular chemicals found in the plume have been found to increase the risks of both of those diseases. Last year, Pascrell demanded that "the situation in Pompton Lakes is a serious public health concern and needs immediate attention."