Thursday, July 6, 2017

The dredging of contaminated Pompton Lake finally begins

Processing station at Pompton Lake that removes contaminated sediment from the lake bottom. The sediment has mercury and other contaminants from the former DuPont munitions site nearby. (Photo: Viorel Florescu/

James M. O'Neil reports for The Record:

A mucky gray mix of gravel, sediment and peat rolls up conveyor belts and plops onto piles along the shore of Pompton Lake each day, waiting for dump trucks to haul it away to a landfill in Pennsylvania.

Since June 5, the largest phase of a long-anticipated three-year project to remove contaminated sediment from a 36-acre portion of Pompton Lake has been in full swing, and local and federal officials say they are pleased with the progress.

During a recent visit to the site, Catherine McCabe, the Environmental Protection Agency’s acting regional administrator, said that even if the steep budget cuts proposed for the EPA by President Donald Trump come to pass, the Pompton Lake project will not be halted or delayed, since Chemours, the company responsible for the cleanup, is paying the bulk of the costs.

Residents had been bracing for loud noise, smells and clouds of dust from the main staging area along the shore once the dredging project began, but Pompton Lakes Mayor Michael Serra said that hasn’t occurred.

To reduce noise and emissions issues, Chemours had high power electric lines temporarily installed to run equipment, rather than using generators.

Video: Pompton Lake contamination history and project highlights

Officials and parents at Lakeside Middle School, which is next to the staging area, thought students might have to stay indoors during recess or that they would have to move school sporting events to a different location.That wasn't necessary, Serra said.

“The residents’ biggest concern had been that after so many years of talking about this project, that shovels would finally go in the ground, and it’s nice to see that happening,” Serra said.

The $50 million cleanup will remove sediment laced with mercury, lead and other contaminants that were dumped into the lake by Acid Brook, which carried the contaminants off a former DuPont munitions plant nearby.

Full story and photos here 

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