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Pascrell Appreciates Deal to Help Advance Lower Passaic Clean-up

Long polluted superfund site has long bedeviled North Jerseyans

U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) today expressed satisfaction at an announcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of a proposed agreement that would force responsible parties to fund the cleanup of the Lower Passaic River, part of the largest superfund site in the United States.

“The Passaic River is such a critical natural resource and its neighbors have waited far too long for a promised clean-up,” said Rep. Pascrell. “Today is an important step and I appreciate that the federal government continues to advance remediation at this largest Superfund site in history. I will be reviewing the consent decree with a fine-toothed comb and do have concerns that costly and lengthy litigation might further delay the restoration we all are seeking. My three goals for the Passaic have always remained the same: comprehensive restoration of our mighty river as quickly as possible, assurance that responsible polluters will pay their fair share of the clean-up, and helping local taxpayers avoid getting swept up in morass of costly litigation. Forcing our neighbors to mop up the messes of others would be adding insult to injury and that cannot happen.”

Pascrell has long been a champion for restoring the lower Passaic River and has been closely involved in the federal process for over two decades.

Under the proposed consent decree, 85 parties are held responsible for the release of hazardous substances into the Lower Passaic River and contaminated a 17-mile stretch. These parties will be responsible for paying $150,000,000 to continue the cleanup of the substances from the river.

The lower 17 miles of the Passaic River is a study area of the Diamond Alkali Superfund site. While the greatest volume of contaminated sediment lies in the lower 8.3 miles of this 17-mile stretch, contamination in the upper nine miles acts as a continuing source of contamination in the river, affecting fish, wildlife and communities along the riverbanks.

This consent decree is subject to a 45-day public comment period and will be available for public review on the U.S. Department of Justice website.

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