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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 30, 2007

Contact: Darlene Yuhas (609) 984-1795
Lawrence Hajna (609) 292-2994

DEP REMOVING TAINTED SOIL AT PARAMUS SCHOOL

(07/32) TRENTON -Responding to concerns at the West Brook Middle School in Paramus, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson today announced that, at Governor Jon S. Corzine’s request, the DEP will step in and immediately remove a pile of soil tainted with pesticides.

"Any time children are involved, we must move swiftly to protect their health and safety and to help restore parents' peace of mind,'' Commissioner Jackson said. "DEP will remove the soil pile, provide technical assistance to the school board and the municipality and conduct additional sampling if the school district or borough requests that we do so.''

Further, Commissioner Jackson said the DEP is requiring up front that the school district pay any costs associated with removing the soil pile and testing the soils.

Paramus Mayor James Tedesco on Tuesday ordered the school closed following reports that the district found elevated levels of the pesticides chlordane, aldrin and dieldrin in a pile of soil adjacent to the building.

The pesticides have been banned by the federal government since the 1980s. Chlordane was once used to prevent termite infestations. Aldrin was once used as an agricultural pesticide; dieldrin is a breakdown product of aldrin.

The DEP is investigating how the district managed the excavation of the soil.

After learning of the situation, the DEP immediately sent an inspector to the school last Thursday. The inspector interviewed school officials and observed the pile, noting that it was fenced off and properly covered at the time of his inspection. The DEP sent another inspector to the school today.

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Last Updated: May 30, 2007