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EPA Proposes to Add the Troy Chemical Corporation Site in Newark, NJ to the Superfund List; Mercury and other Toxics Contaminate Pierson’s Creek and Newark Bay

Release Date: 12/11/2013
Contact Information: Elias Rodriguez, (212) 637-3664, rodriguez.elias@epa.gov

      (New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today proposed to add the Troy Chemical Corp. site in Newark, New Jersey to its Superfund list of the country’s most hazardous waste sites. Past industrial activity at and in the vicinity of the site, including the manufacture of chemicals, has contaminated Pierson’s Creek, which flows into Newark Bay. Sediment in the creek contains elevated levels of mercury and other pollutants. Previous testing by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection showed that some sediment in Pierson’s Creek contained as much as 60% mercury by weight.

      Exposure to even small amounts of mercury can damage people’s nervous systems and harm the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs and immune system. Children and pregnant women are especially vulnerable.

      “Mercury is an extremely toxic metal, making it imperative that we make the cleanup of the Troy Chemical Corporation site a priority,” said Judith A. Enck, EPA Regional Administrator. “Mercury from Pierson’s creek is a significant source of contamination in Newark Bay and puts the health of people who eat fish from these waters at risk. By adding the site to the Superfund list, the EPA can ensure that a thorough investigation and cleanup takes place at the Troy Chemical site.”

      The Troy Chemical Corporation has manufactured chemicals at the site since 1956. Between 1956 and 1965, the facility allegedly discharged approximately 7,000 gallons of untreated mercury–containing wastewater into Pierson’s Creek each week. After 1965, the wastewater was treated at the site to address the mercury prior to its discharge into the creek. In 1976, a wastewater treatment plant was built on the site. In 2001, the EPA reached a settlement with Troy Chemical that required the facility to come into compliance with chemical reporting regulations and make improvements to reduce air and water pollution and decrease the amount of chemicals the company uses in its processes. Troy Chemical Corporation currently manufactures antimicrobial and antifungal paint additives on the site. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has also worked to resolve air and water violations resulting from operations at the site. New Jersey has supported the inclusion of this site to the Superfund list.

      The EPA has determined that proposing the Troy Chemical Corporation site to the Superfund list is the best course of action to protect human health and clean up the contamination. The EPA periodically proposes sites to the Superfund list and, after responding to public comments, designates them as final Superfund sites. The Superfund final designation makes them eligible for funds to conduct long-term cleanups. Today’s addition of this site, along with the Unimatic site in Fairfield, NJ, brings the total of proposed and final sites on the federal Superfund list in New Jersey to 116.

      The Superfund program operates on the principle that polluters should pay for the cleanups, rather than passing the costs to taxpayers. After sites are placed on the Superfund list of the most contaminated waste sites, the EPA searches for parties legally responsible for the contamination and holds them accountable for the costs of investigations and cleanups.


      To see the Federal Register notice and supporting documents for this site, as well as other proposed and final sites, on the day of publication, visit: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/current.htm.

      The EPA will take public comments in the proposal of this site to the Superfund List for 60 days after the proposal is published in the Federal Register, which is expected in the next few days. For instructions to submit comments, go to:
      http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/pubcom.htm.

      To learn more about the Troy site, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/region02/superfund/npl/troychemical.

      For more information on the Superfund listing process, visit:
      http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/npl_hrs.htm or contact Ildefonso Acosta, Region 2 NPL Coordinator, at 212-637-4344, acosta.ildefonso@epa.gov.

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