Preparations Underway to Remove Toxic Sediment From Lower Passaic River

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced that work has begun on removing 200,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment from an area of the Passaic River near the Diamond Alkali Superfund site located at 80 Lister Avenue in Newark, N.J. EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are overseeing the work, which is funded and being performed by Tierra Solutions, Inc.

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 St. 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.   

Phase 2 of the project involves the removal of 160,000 cubic yards of sediment with lower concentrations of dioxin. Phase 2 work will undergo a separate engineering study and proposal that will be submitted to the public for review and comment at a later date. This two-phase removal project is one installment in a much more comprehensive investigation of contamination and evaluation of cleanup options for the lower eight miles of the Passaic River and possibly other stretches of the river and Newark Bay.

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