Congressman Bill Pascrell

Representing the 9th District of NEW JERSEY

Army Corps to Clean Sheffield Park to Highest Possible Government Standard

Jun 24, 2003
Press Release

Park is already safe for current use; Pascrell, Township insisted on going beyond
the government required thorium cleanup level.  Public Meeting to be held July 1st

Wayne- U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ, 8th), Wayne Mayor Scott Rumana, and Wayne Councilmen Alan Purcell and Michael Krause announced today that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be cleaning a property along Sheffield Brook and a portion of Sheffield Park.  Construction is set to begin on July 7, 2003 and is expected to last up to six weeks.

The properties were originally cleared of thorium contamination during the 1980's.  The Department of Energy, then later the Army Corps, had worked to bring the properties up to "commercial and recreational use" standard--the required criterion for the properties, as they were used only for commercial and recreational use.  In 1997, at the urging of Rep. Pascrell and Wayne Township officials, the Army Corps agreed to go the extra mile and clean all properties in Wayne to the "residential use" standard--the highest possible cleanup standard.

The change in standard from "commercial and recreational use" to "residential use" was demanded by the Congressman and Township for two reasons: one, the citizens of Wayne deserved to be assured of the highest possible level of cleanup; two, the Congressman and Township eventually want the property at the Wayne Interim Storage Site (WISS), located on Black Oak Ridge Road, returned to the Township.  By bringing the property up to "residential use," the Township will be able to use the property, if returned, for whatever purpose it sees fit, with no restrictions.

In April, Pascrell and Wayne Officials announced that the Army Corps, as part of its final review process to remove Wayne from the Superfund list, would be conducting a review of four previously cleaned properties along Sheffield Brook and in Sheffield Park to make sure they met the rigorous "residential use" standard agreed to in 1997.  Two of the four properties reviewed turned out be cleaned only to the "commercial and recreational use" standard.
This discovery prompted the new construction that will take place along Sheffield Brook and in Sheffield Park.  Though the properties are completely safe, the Army Corps will bring the properties up to the "residential use" standard to honor its commitment to the agreement reached with Pascrell and the Township in 1997 to clean all properties in Wayne to "residential use" standard.

A public information session, hosted by the Army Corps, will be held at the Wayne Township Municipal Building on July 1, 2003 from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.  Residents will have the opportunity to listen to an overview of the project and speak one on one with Army Corps professionals.

"Sheffield Park has been safe for the children of Wayne since it was originally cleaned in the 80's.  We are taking this rigorous extra step because the people of this community deserve nothing less," said Pascrell.

"I want to thank Congressman Pascrell and the Army Corps for providing us with care and attention to ensure that all thorium material is removed to the highest possible standard," stated Wayne Mayor Scott Rumana.  "I also want to inform our residents that the Army Corps of Engineers has assured us that our park is completely safe and that all thorium material is encapsulated well below the surface of our beautiful park.

"Speaking for all of our Council colleagues, we want assure our residents that we are diligently working with Congressman Pascrell and Mayor Rumana to ensure that our children, and our residents as a whole, are protected," said Wayne Councilmen Alan Purcell and Michael Krause.

Since taking office in Congress in 1997, Pascrell has made expediting the cleanup of the Thorium Site, and doing so to the highest possible "residential use" standard, a top priority.  Pascrell's tenure in Congress has seen the removal of nearly all the surface soil and the entire amount of subsurface material from the WISS.  He and Wayne officials, including Mayor Rumana, Councilmen Alan Purcell, Mike Krause, the other members of the Township Council, and former Mayor David Waks, worked to ensure the Black Oak Ridge Road site and its vicinity properties would indeed be cleaned to the "residential use" standard, rather than the originally scheduled "commercial and recreational" standard.

The WISS was formerly utilized by W.R. Grace and Company for the processing of rare earth metals.  During Grace's operation, waste materials containing thorium were buried on site and in the surrounding area.  An initial cleanup led to the consolidation of the waste at the site on Black Oak Ridge Road between 1985-1987.