Federal environmental officials apologized to Ringwood, NJ residents Tuesday night for not divulging sooner the discovery of another dangerous chemical at the Superfund site where Ford Motor Co. dumped paint sludge decades ago, but they maintained it poses no imminent health threat.
The Record’s Scott Fallon reports:
At a tense meeting attended by almost 200 people — so many they couldn’t all fit in the room at Borough Hall — Environmental Protection Agency officials admitted they should not have waited three months to inform the community of the presence of the chemical, 1,4-dioxane, at concentrations in groundwater almost 100 times the state standard.
But EPA officials said it was unlikely that the chemical’s discovery would halt a controversial plan that would leave hundreds of thousands of tons of contamination under a protective barrier rather than having it dug out and removed, as several community members pushed for Tuesday night.
“The data doesn’t indicate that it needs to be changed,” said Joe Gowers, the EPA project manager for the site.
He said work on the barrier may begin as early as next year. The agency is still developing a cleanup plan for the contaminated groundwater flowing under the site, but residents said it was premature to install the barrier before that was done.
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