U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) today applauded the Environmental Protection Agency's final phase of its plan to clean up the White Chemical Corporation Superfund Site in Newark, NJ, which will treat contaminated ground water beneath the site.
"Newark residents will soon be able to feel safe knowing the ground water under the White Chemical Corporation won't be a threat to their health or the environment," said Senator Menendez. "The White Chemical Corporation was at one point one of the most hazardous waste sites in the country. Thanks to the EPA's efforts we can now say that soon that will no longer be the case. One step at a time, the EPA has removed the threats the contamination in this site posed to the surrounding community and I applaud and thank their efforts to clean it up and work toward making it safe again for local residents."
"This important cleanup effort is making Newark safer for our families, businesses, and the environment," said Senator Lautenberg, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Superfund, Toxics, and Environmental Health. "While we're one step closer to ridding this site of toxic chemicals, more than 100 other contaminated areas continue to put New Jersey families at risk. It's never been more important that polluters, not taxpayers, pay to clean up the dangerous waste at Superfund sites."
Currently, the ground water under The White Chemical Corporation Site is contaminated with compounds from past industrial activities that can cause serious damage to residents' health and the environment. EPA's cleanup plan stipulates that the site's ground water will be treated with "bioremediation," the injection of chemicals into the ground water to promote the breakdown of pollutants. Water samples will be collected and analyzed periodically by the agency to monitor the treatment and verify that the level of contaminants is declining.
EPA Background Information on The White Chemical Corporation Site
The White Chemical Corporation site, which covers 4.4 acres, is located at 660 Frelinghuysen Avenue in Newark, and is surrounded by many residential, commercial and industrial properties. Beginning in the 1930s, portions of the site were used by multiple businesses for industrial activities including the manufacture of acid chlorides and fire retardants. The White Chemical Corporation operated a chemical manufacturing facility at the site from 1983 to 1990 and was cited by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection for multiple environmental violations before the company abandoned the facility. Thousands of drums were left behind, with many of them leaking hazardous chemicals. The site was added to the federal Superfund list of the country's most hazardous waste sites in 1991. For a history of the cleanup, visit: http://www.epa.gov/region02/superfund/npl/whitechem/
Senator Lautenberg has led the fight in Congress to require polluting industries to fund cleanup of contaminated sites. His "Polluter Pays Restoration Act," co-sponsored by Senator Menendez, would reinstate the Superfund fee on oil and chemical companies as it existed prior to its expiration in 1995. Currently, taxpayers bear the financial burden of cleaning up sites where the parties responsible for the pollution cannot be found or no longer exist. Restoring this small fee on polluters will ease the burden on taxpayers, speed cleanup and revitalization of blighted properties, and create jobs. New Jersey contains 113 of the 1,314 Superfund sites across the country, the most of any state.