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Diamond Alkali
Newark, NJ

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Dave Kluesner - (212) 637-3653

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Cleaning Up The Lower Passaic River

For about 30 years during the mid-20th Century, various companies manufactured pesticides and herbicides, including those used to formulate the defoliant "Agent Orange," at facilities in Newark, New Jersey (Essex County) that are now part of the Diamond Alkali Superfund site. EPA added the site to the Superfund National Priorities List on September 21, 1984 because of hazardous substances present at the site and in the Passaic River, which borders the property. The site is comprised of three parts: the former pesticides manufacturing plant and surrounding properties at 80 and 120 Lister Avenue, the Lower Passaic River Restoration Project Study Area and the Newark Bay Study Area. EPA treats each as a unique part of its investigation and cleanup efforts.

The lower Passaic River study area is a 17-mile stretch of river from Dundee Dam near Garfield, New Jersey to Newark Bay and several tributaries, while the Newark Bay study area includes the bay and portions of the Hackensack River, Arthur Kill and Kill Van Kull. The area encompassed by the Superfund site is both densely populated and heavily industrialized.

Dioxin, pesticides and volatile organic compounds, all of which can pose serious human health risks, were detected at the Lister Avenue properties. Occidental Chemical Corporation, a successor to the previous owner, the Diamond Shamrock Chemicals Company, performed interim cleanup work at the Lister Avenue properties and is performing a study of Newark Bay with EPA oversight. 

The sediments of the lower Passaic River and Newark Bay are contaminated with a variety of hazardous substances, including dioxin, PCBs, mercury, DDT, pesticides and heavy metals. The entire Newark Bay region, including the lower Passaic, is under a fish and shellfish consumption advisory due to the contamination over the past 100 years by numerous sources along the river. For the lower Passaic River, EPA formed a partnership in 2003 with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, New Jersey Department of Transportation and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to carry out the Lower Passaic River Restoration Project.

The Lower Passaic River Restoration Project and Newark Bay Study will both be used to develop information necessary to evaluate possible cleanup and restoration plans. EPA continues to monitor cleanup efforts to ensure continued protection of human health and the environment.


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