EPA Proposes Revised Plan to Remove Mercury Contaminated Sediment from Bottom of Pompton Lake in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey

Posted in: Crisis Response, United States Water News, Water Contamination
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Article courtesy of Mary Mears & John Martin | October 30, 2014 | EPA | Shared as educational material

(New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today proposed a new plan to remove mercury contaminated water from areas of Pompton Lake in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey, including the areas where the Acid Brook flows into the lake, called the Acid Brook Delta. Areas of the sediment on the bottom of the lake have become contaminated with mercury and lead that flowed down the Acid Brook into the lake. The public is encouraged to review the new plan and provide input.

Under the plan proposed today, in the form of a modification of its existing federal permit, E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, Inc. will be required to dredge lake bottom sediment from a 36 acre area of the Acid Brook Delta and also remove sediment from two other areas of the lake near the shoreline that have elevated levels of mercury and are subject to erosion. These areas total an additional three acres in size. The proposed permit also requires DuPont to remove contaminated soil from a shoreline area where the Acid Brook flows into the lake, and replace it with clean soil. All of the sediment and soil will be sent to a licensed disposal facility. A long-term monitoring plan will be designed and implemented to assess Pompton Lake after the work is completed.

Mercury in the sediment and soil can build up in the tissue of fish and other wildlife and pose a threat to people who eat them. Exposure to mercury can damage people’s nervous systems and harm the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs and immune systems.

The EPA will take public comments on the proposed permit until December 18, 2014 and will hold a public information session and a formal public hearing. The information session will allow people to ask questions of EPA experts, while the public hearing is a more formal proceeding with a court stenographer to collect public comments. Both the public information session and the formal public hearing will be held at the Carnevale Center at 10 Lenox Avenue in Pompton Lakes. The public information session will be held on November 12, 2014 at 7:00 pm and the formal public hearing will be held on December 8, 2014 at 7:00 pm.

The EPA originally finalized a permit modification requiring the removal of contaminated sediment from the bottom of Pompton Lake in December of 2012. That permit was appealed and withdrawn by the EPA. The permit modification now being proposed reflects new sampling data, which has allowed EPA to identify specific contaminated areas of the lake that require dredging, and further refines the area of the Acid Brook Delta that needs to be dredged.

DuPont operated the Pompton Lakes Works facility, located at 2000 Cannonball Road, from 1902 to April 1994. Products manufactured at the facility included explosive powder containing mercury and lead, detonating fuses, electric blasting caps, metal wires and aluminum and copper shells. The manufacturing operations and waste management practices contaminated soil, sediment and ground water both on and off-site. Lead and mercury from its operations were released into Acid Brook, which flows through the eastern part of the facility and discharges into the Acid Brook Delta of Pompton Lake. DuPont’s operations also contaminated the ground water with chlorinated volatile organic compounds, such as tetrachloroethylene (PCE) and trichloroethylene (TCE). Investigations and cleanup activities are underway to address these additional areas of contamination.

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