WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-8) today applauded the start of work on removing 200,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment from the Passaic River at the Diamond Alkali Superfund site in downtown Newark. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are overseeing the work, which is funded and being performed by the party responsible for the pollution, Tierra Solutions, Inc.
"Getting this work underway is a significant step forward in revitalizing the Passaic River's ecology and restoring the environment for the benefit of all communities along the river," said Pascrell, who for a decade served on the House Water Resources Subcommittee and has been involved with advancing restoration of the Passaic River. "We have a long way to go to fully restore the mighty Passaic River to usable conditions. But with this project starting, we are rightly seeing the polluter pay to remove a significant dioxin hotspot in the river. We look forward to a day when families along the river, from Dundee Dam in Clifton down to Newark, will be able to have a river they can enjoy for environmental, economic and recreational opportunities associated with an urban river."
Pascrell, a former member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment, is the long-time congressional champion of the restoration effort. He has helped secure millions in federal funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to study the 17 mile stretch of the river from the Dundee Dam to the Newark Bay known as the Lower Passaic River.
The work is being carried out at two locations in the Ironbound section of Newark. Approximately, 40,000 cubic yards of the most highly contaminated, dioxin-laden sediment will be removed beginning in Spring 2012 from within a sheet pile enclosure adjacent to the Diamond Alkali site, then piped to a processing facility that will be constructed one quarter mile downstream at 117 Blanchard Street.
There, the contaminated sediment will be dewatered and loaded onto sealed containers and
transported off-site by train for disposal. Over the next two months workers will prepare and secure the site floodwall along the Passaic River.
In October work will begin on construction of a metal sheet pile enclosure in the river. Construction of the enclosure is expected to last four months. Dredging will be completed by the end of 2012.
The project was designed to protect the river, workers, and the community. Use of a metal sheet pile enclosure will isolate the contaminated materials from the river. Monitoring will be performed at both work locations to ensure safe operations. A Community Health & Safety Plan for the removal project was developed by Tierra Solutions with input from the Passaic River Community Advisory Group, who ensured that the concerns of the community were considered in designing the cleanup plan.