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Last week, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette announced that the DEP will pursue the cleanup of the Lower Hackensack River as a federal Superfund site. This means that, if the designation request is accepted, the DEP will be working with the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop a plan for the cleanup.
This is the first time that a New Jersey river itself has been proposed for Superfund listing. Superfund sites are designated by the EPA based on their extensive contamination and often complex remediation needs. Over the past few decades, the DEP and the EPA have been working together on long-term remediation of four Superfund sites in the immediate area near the Hackensack River. The results of a 2016 inspection conducted by the EPA showed that pollutants discharged from these sites and others had been thoroughly dispersed throughout the Lower Hackensack River. Since then, the DEP has completed additional assessments that ultimately resulted in DEP’s support and application for Superfund listing as the best option to address the complex challenges of remediating the Lower Hackensack River.
Working with the EPA on this cleanup would give the DEP more resources than if they were to attempt to tackle the issue alone. Many legislators, included Senator Cory Booker, State Congressmen, and local Mayors have praised Commissioner LaTourette’s efforts and agree that this marks a critical step toward remediation of River for the benefit of the surrounding public.
To read Commissioner LaTourette’s official request for Superfund designation click here.
To read more about the DEP’s plans for the Lower Hackensack River, click here.
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