Scientific Data Analysis – IH

The Location of the Wayne Interim Storage Site with a 1-Mile Buffer
868 Black Oak Ridge Rd. Wayne, N.J. U.S.A 07470

The 2012-2016 ACS Summary Report

Data Table

2010 Census Report

Data Analysis

The EJ Screen Map above depicts the location of the Wayne Interim Storage Site (WISS) with part of a 1-mile buffer I placed around it. What is significant about this map is that it shows a number of key landmarks that were affected by the harmful practices that occurred on the site. One landmark that stands out is the farm, downhill, right across the street from the site, titled, ‘Passaic County Farm.’ This farm predates the WISS by approximately a century. However, after W.R. & Grace moved into the neighborhood and the radioactive contamination it caused was discovered, the family that owned the farm had to take measures to ensure that their land was clean. Another landmark is the small ‘Pompton River Tributary.’ I hypothesized that this tributary was actually none other than the infamous Sheffield Brook. The same brook that became known for being polluted by the radioactive waste that flowed into it from the storm sewer that W.R. Grace used to dump liquid waste from its operations on the WISS. The sad thing is that this brook was ordinally used by the Sheffield family as a water source for the cows on their pasture (the original use of the location that became the WISS). To make matters worse, the brook used to flow into the Pompton river, which can also be seen on the above map, to the west. This brook according to Brian Twohig, the mechanic who works on the property attached to the WISS location, was paved over and was forgotten about. This may be the reason why I had so much trouble finding the brook on the map. Brian informed me that even today, when there is rainfall the brook remerges. I actually visited Brian’s shop on a rainy day and he took me to the forest behind his shop and showed me the brook, which was clearly visible. I compared what Brian told and showed me with the above EJ Screen map and with a map from a New Jersey Institute of Technology thesis paper from the 1980s and I have concluded that the tributary in the EJ screen map is Sheffield Brook. The thesis paper contains a detailed hand-drawn map of the immediate vicinity of the WISS and clearly labeled Sheffield brook. In the thesis paper, the brook extends further northeast and east, breaking off into two directions, resembling what I witnessed firsthand. The EJ Screen map depicts the tributary as starting off further southwest. This seems to be because of what Brian informed me of, that the brook was paved over and now only appears when it rains.

            Other significant landmarks within a 1-mile radius include the ‘Point View Reservoir’ to the east and the Route 23 highway to the west. Route 23 might affect some of the pollution data I acquired from the EJScreen website. The map also shows the newly built Farmview Court, the small dead-end right above the farm across the street. The houses on Farmview Ct. were built in 2012, the same year the WISS was taken off of the National Priorities List (NPL).

As for the bar graph above, I selected for three factors: traffic proximity, hazardous waste proximity, and wastewater discharge indicator. The graph shows traffic proximity as over the 50th percentile for the U.S., the state and the region. This is likely due to the nearby highway less than a mile to the west. This is significant for two reasons. For one the large amount of traffic in the area means more pollution, which must be kept in mind when reading the data on hazardous chemicals. The second reason that the large amount of traffic is important, is that a lot of people pass by this area throughout the week. This likely ties into how the W.R. Grace site was re-advertised to the public, as beautiful child and dog park in a commercial area. I selected for hazardous waste proximity for obvious reasons, to see how much the thorium and other radioactive chemicals that long plagued the site have an effect today. This category wasn’t that high, possibly due to the fact that the site witnessed a very long cleanup process. This process however never completely cleaned the site of the radioactive waste. The exact locations of the buried thorium were lost, and as a result the agencies involved in the clean-up had to estimate the locations and search for them. Brian informed me that there still remains buried thorium under the traffic light of Black Oak Ridge Road. He informed me that the government never got around to close the road in order to clean up the thorium buried under it. Lastly, I selected the wastewater discharge indicator because W.R. Grace didn’t only bury the waste but also dumped it into the storm sewer, thereby contaminating the connected waterways. The wastewater discharge indicator is pretty high, over the 70th percentile for the U.S., the state and the region. This is significant because it indicates that the water is still very unclean. The wastewater discharge indicator for the state was in the 86th percentile. This may be due to the waste the W.R. Grace site left behind. It also may be due to other reasons such as the busy roads and the highway. I still suspect that part of the pollution in the water that remains today is still from the radioactive waste left behind by W.R. Grace because the site and its surroundings were never fully cleaned.