DEP AGREEMENT ALLOWS POMPTON LAKES HOMEOWNERS TO CHOOSE
(10/P4) TRENTON - The Department of Environmental Protection and federal Environmental Protection Agency have worked out an agreement with DuPont that allows residents of Pompton Lakes to choose contractors to design and install systems to prevent chemical vapors from entering their homes, DEP Acting Commissioner Bob Martin announced today.
DuPont, which is responsible for cleaning up the pollution from a former munitions plant in Pompton Lakes, will continue to pay for the vapor mitigation systems whether residents choose to have the company install them or select their own contractor. Residents will be able to select vapor mitigation installers from DEP-approved contractors beginning next week.
“The residents of Pompton Lakes affected by this pollution have demanded that they have a choice about who installs these systems. We heard them, and we agree,” Commissioner Martin said. “Unquestionably our most important goal is to make sure the residents of Pompton Lakes are protected.”
The DEP and EPA strongly urge all residents who live in an area adjacent to the plant that has been affected by groundwater pollution get the system installed. Only residents in this area need to get the systems.
DuPont has agreed to pay costs associated with installing the systems, regardless of who does the work. The DEP will continue to review and oversee the installation of these systems with assistance from the EPA, which recently enhanced its involvement in the cleanup by becoming co-lead with the DEP. EPA inspectors will assist the DEP in making sure all systems are working properly.
“EPA is committed to inspecting 100 percent of all previously installed and newly installed vapor mitigation systems in a critical step toward protecting the health of Pompton Lakes residents,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck. “We encourage residents to take advantage of this opportunity. This is the first of many steps we are taking to regain the trust of residents and to demonstrate our long-term commitment to restore the health and welfare of this impacted community.”
The DEP continues to work with the EPA in developing a comprehensive plan to complete the cleanup of the DuPont site and actively engage the community. The DEP will:
- Work with the EPA in forming a community advisory group to actively engage a broad cross-section of residents, local officials and environmentalists in cleanup discussions.
- Recommit to transparency and community outreach in all phases of cleanup.
- Continue to respond to any residents’ concerns about the installation and operation of systems to prevent vapors from a plume of contaminated groundwater from entering homes.
- Ensure DuPont meets its cleanup obligations in a timely and transparent manner. This includes making sure DuPont develops a scientifically sound and thorough plan for cleaning up the groundwater plume.
The DEP will post more information on how to arrange for the installation of the mitigation systems at www.nj.gov/dep/srp/community/sites/dupont_pompton_lakes/