“Superfund Case Study: Not Everybody Bites the Dust”

By Zach Valbrum

  • The Environmental Site I have chosen is the lower stretch of the Passaic River located in Northeast New Jersey. This part of the river starts around Belleville and ends in front of Newark Bay, the 17 mile stretch from the mouth of the river in Newark Bay upwards all the way to Dundee Dam in Garfield, NJ.  It officially includes the Lower Passaic River Study Area, the Newark Bay Study Area, 80-120 Lister Avenue, and the “area extent of contamination”(EPA Superfund WebSite), which is the possible area contaminated.  In 1984, the Diamond Alkali Company became the first site on the river to be listed by the EPA on the National Priorities List, making it a Superfund Site. Diamond Alkali is one of four sites located in the Newark City limits, and although it’s name is specific to the factory sitting on the river, the official size of this Superfund site encompasses the 17 mile stretch previously mentioned. It has been the only site in which the parent company, Occidental Chemical Corporation, has settled a lawsuit for $165 Million individually. A group of companies who contributed to the contamination numbered over 70 parties according to a settlement agreement between the group of companies and EPA. My site is not only the 17 mile stretch of the Passaic River but it is also the group of settlements, cases and meetings between all the companies and government institutions