Federal regulators this week announced a final $43 million plan for removing mercury contamination near a since-closed DuPont ammunition plant in northern New Jersey.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ordered the chemical giant to dredge lakebed sentiment from a 36-acre area known as the Acid Brook Delta, along with nearby shoreline soil and three additional acres in Pompton Lake. The company will also be required to replace shoreline soil and dispose of the removed materials.
DuPont’s Pompton Lakes Works plant manufactured ammunition for nearly a century and leaked mercury, lead and other toxic chemicals across the 576-acre campus and surrounding areas. The facility closed in 1994, but fish consumption advisories remain in effect around Pompton Lake.
EPA officials hope clean-up work will begin later this year. The agency will establish a long-term monitoring plan after the restoration effort wraps up.
Local environmental advocates, however, raised concerns about DuPont’s plans to spin off its chemicals operations into a new company this summer. The newly formed Chemours Co. would assume ownership of shuttered chemical plants such as Pompton Lakes.
New Jersey Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel told NJ.com that the move “ends up limiting cleanup cost and liability for the parent company.”
Activists from Parkersburg, West Virginia, raised similar concerns earlier this month. DuPont previously agreed to pay more than $200 million to monitor residents near the former Washington Works plant, which produced harmful chemicals used in Teflon non-stick coating.
DuPont officials said in both cases that the company and Chemours remain committed to fulfilling its obligations “in accordance with existing local, state and federal regulatory guidelines.”