The Nuclear Dog Park: Wayne Township’s struggle with a mining operation’s contamination.
I am currently a senior Computer Science undergraduate at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. I was born and raised in Wayne, NJ and had always heard whispered rumors about our local dog park being “radioactive”, but before beginning my research, I was never aware that the area was sitting on top of a past Superfund site. Having personally known family members who owned residential properties almost directly adjacent to the site, after diving into its past it became a natural choice for me to research further.
Project Site Description
After WWII, the once rural farmlands that made up Wayne Township transformed into a residential suburb after it had attracted many workers who moved to follow wartime industries during the war. From 1948 to 1971, a six acre site in the town was used to process monazite ore and extract thorium and other rare earth metals. In 1980, radiological surface contamination was discovered at the facility and on nearby residential property. This project will analyze the factors that led to the various delays in the cleanup, as well as the political factors that contributed to responsibility of the cleanup being delayed tossed around between various organizations. This analysis hopes to give a greater understanding about how political instruments and organizations can help or hinder environmental efforts.
Keywords: Parks, Toxics, Community, Pollution, Soil