WAYNE - U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-08) today joined U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ), EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New York District Commander Col. Paul E. Owen and Wayne Township Administrator Neal Bellet to announce the removal of the Wayne Superfund site on Black Oak Ridge Road from the EPA National Priorities List (NPL). The Township is currently in the process of constructing a park at the site.
”It gives me great pleasure to stand here today to deliver on a promise I made to the residents of Wayne 15 years ago during my first term in Congress,” stated Pascrell. “Through the cooperation of the Army Corps, EPA and the Township of Wayne, we proved what can be accomplished by working together to accomplish a common goal. A lot is often made of the fact that New Jersey has the most Superfund sites of any state in the country. The fact that we are standing here today, taking one off the list, is an example to all of us that this program works. I'm proud this once contaminated property will soon become a beautiful addition to Township’s park system that the people of Wayne will enjoy for generations."
“Delivering this toxic site back to the community is the result of almost 30 years of hard work and determination. Families in Wayne can breathe a sigh of relief that this toxic menace is gone forever and replaced by a clean, open space for their children,” said Lautenberg, Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Superfund, Toxics, and Environmental Health. “Though we are making progress at sites like this one in Wayne, the legacy of toxic waste remains a real issue in New Jersey. We will keep fighting to make sure cleanups continue, and polluters—not taxpayers—are on the hook to clean up the toxic waste they left in our communities.”
"The people of Wayne have been plagued by this toxic site for years, so I am thrilled to see it cleaned up and replaced by a park that can be enjoyed by all of our residents," said Wayne Mayor Vergano. "I'd like to thank Congressman Pascrell and Senator Lautenberg for their tireless work in making this day a reality, and EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers for their commitment to remediating the site."
From 1948-1971 the 6.5 acre site was utilized by W.R. Grace and Company for the processing of rare earth metals. During Grace’s operation, waste materials containing thorium were buried on site and in the surrounding area. The site was assigned to the US Department of Energy (DOE) by the 1984 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act, and placed in their Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP). In 1997, responsibility was transferred to the Army Corps of Engineers for further remediation.
All contaminated material was removed by December 2001, and site wide restoration was completed in June 2002. In 2006, Rep. Pascrell played an instrumental role in the transfer of the land from the federal government to the Township of Wayne.
The Army Corps of Engineers received $1 million in funding in 2009 through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to remove inaccessible soil on Black Oak Ridge Road adjacent to the former W.R. Grace & Company Superfund site.
Since 1997, Rep. Pascrell worked closely with locally elected officials and the federal government through countless site visits to ensure that the site was expeditiously decontaminated to a residential standard, rather than an industrial standard, which allowed for the construction of a park at the site. Rep. Pascrell also ensured the polluter was held responsible for cleanup of the site, with this being the first FUSRAP site where the polluter paid for site remediation. W.R. Grace Company paid more than $32 million to complete the clean-up.