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EPA Adds Areas of Orange and West Orange, N.J. to the Superfund List

Release Date: 09/14/2012
Contact Information: Elias Rodriguez, 212-637-3664, rodriguez.elias@epa.gov

      (New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has added the Orange Valley Regional Ground Water site in Orange and West Orange, New Jersey to its Superfund National Priorities List of the country’s most hazardous waste sites. Ground water under the site, which is in heavily populated urban and suburban areas of Orange and West Orange, is contaminated with the chemicals tetrachloroethylene, trichloroethylene and cis-1,2-dichloroethylene. Exposure to these common industrial solvents can have serious effects on people’s health, including liver damage and an increased risk of cancer. The ground water contamination has impacted public wells used to supply drinking water to local residents. Some of the wells have been taken out of service and water from others is treated to remove the contamination and provide the community with water that is safe to drink. EPA proposed to add the site to the Superfund list in March 2012 and a 60-day comment period followed, during which the public was encouraged to submit comments on the proposed listing. The EPA received a letter from the New Jersey government supporting the inclusion of this site to the Superfund list. The site is now final on the Superfund list.

      “Ensuring that people have a safe source of drinking water is essential to protecting public health and is an EPA priority,” said Judith A. Enck, EPA Regional Administrator. “By placing the Orange Valley Ground Water site on the Superfund list, the EPA can do the extensive sampling needed to find the best ways to address the contamination and protect people’s health.”

      The ground water pollution has impacted several public water supply wells. The Orange Park and Gist Place wells serve a combined population of more than 10,000 people. After discovering the contamination in the early 1980s, the Orange Water Department installed a treatment system on the wells to remove the contaminants and provide the community with safe drinking water. Water from these wells is regularly monitored to ensure that the treatment system is effective and that people’s health continues to be protected. The former Brook Lane public supply well, which is located between the Orange Park and Gist Place wells, was taken out of service to protect the public from the contamination.

      EPA periodically proposes sites to the Superfund list and, after responding to public comments, designates them as final Superfund sites. 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 responsible for the contamination and holds them accountable for the costs of investigations and cleanups. The search for the parties responsible for the contamination at the Orange Valley Regional Ground Water site is ongoing.

      The EPA today added 12 sites to the national Superfund list. Since 1983, 1,676 sites have been listed. Of these sites, 360 sites have been cleaned up, resulting in 1,316 sites currently on the list, including the 12 added today. There are 54 sites proposed to be added, including eight announced today, awaiting final agency action.

      For more information, visit: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/current.htm

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