Seventy-Three Companies Sign On With EPA To Complete Comprehensive Study of Passaic River
(New York, N.Y.) Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it has reached agreement with 73 companies considered potentially responsible for contaminants in the lower Passaic River to pay for the completion of a comprehensive study of the river, relieving the burden on taxpayers. The agreement, contained in an Administrative Order on Consent (AOC), calls for the parties to complete an ongoing study of contamination in 17 miles of the lower Passaic River and possible cleanup approaches, which is currently being conducted by EPA. Under the agreement, the companies will also pay for EPA’s costs in overseeing the study. The cost of the work to be performed under this agreement is estimated at $37 million, plus the costs associated with EPA’s oversight.
“This agreement shows that Superfund is working and that polluters are footing the bill for past contamination,” said EPA Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg. “EPA will oversee the comprehensive 17-mile study, while we continue to consider a variety of early cleanup actions that could be taken well before the long-term study is completed.”
The study focuses on a 17-mile stretch of the Passaic River in New Jersey, from the Dundee Dam in Garfield to its confluence with Newark Bay. The ongoing study, formally called a remedial investigation and feasibility study, is examining the nature and extent of contamination in this stretch of river and assessing various alternatives to address the problems. Hazardous waste cleanups and the environmental studies that must precede them are routinely conducted by potentially responsible parties, with EPA oversight, at Superfund sites all across the country. Every step of the work to be performed by the companies will be closely monitored by EPA in consultation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New Jersey Department of Transportation, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to ensure that all protocols are being met. EPA is committed to continuing this long-standing partnership with these agencies to ensure that the comprehensive study of the river produces solutions for the contamination and for the restoration of the river habitat.
This settlement adds 31 companies to a group of companies (referred to as the Cooperating Parties Group) that had previously signed an agreement with EPA to provide the Agency more than $10,750,000 to start the study. The agreement announced today will build on work already performed by EPA and its partners.
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