Home > Uncategorized > Dupont & DEP Hammered by Angry Residents for Failure to Cleanup Toxic Nightmare Linked to Cancer Cluster

Dupont & DEP Hammered by Angry Residents for Failure to Cleanup Toxic Nightmare Linked to Cancer Cluster

cancer survivoir demands action on cleanup and community-wide health investigation

cancer survivor demands action on cleanup and community-wide health investigation

[Update below]

About 500 concerned – and rightfully angry – residents turned out at a public meeting last night to demand that their community be cleaned up; that multi-billion dollar corporate polluter Dupont be held accountable; and that the NJ Department of Environmental Protection be fired for their incompetent – at best – years of failure to enforce cleanup by Dupont.

The meeting was held to present recent findings by the NJ Department of Health and Senior Services. DHSS found statistically significant elevated rates of bladder cancers in women and lymphoma in men that live on top of the toxic groundwater plume caused by Dupont’s chemical dumping. See: ANALYSIS OF CANCER INCIDENCE IN THE POMPTON LAKES

this man's wife has cancer. He lives on top oif the plume and questioned the results of vapor intrusion sampling

this man’s wife has cancer. He lives on top of the toxic plume and questioned the results of vapor intrusion sampling

Dupont dumped toxic chemicals in the Pompton Lakes community for almost 100 years, causing massive damage not only to the resident’s health, but to natural resources.

Tragically, even the Town’s namesake, Pompton Lake, is poisoned by Dupont’s chemicals; fish are not safe to eat; and natural resources and wildlife are poisoned. Yet 5 years ago, former DEP Commisioner Brad Campbell cut a sweetheart deal with Dupont for “Natural Resource Damages” at 8 Dupont toxic sites in NJ – including Pompton Lakes, who received NOTHING from this paltry settlement. Curiously, Campbell is now involved with a $5 billion deal to build a new coal powerplant plant on Dupont’s 108 acre toxic site in Linden, NJ. (see “Pigs in Linden“)

Back in July of 2008, at the invitation of Councilman Ed Meakem, I testified to the Council about how NJ’s cleanup laws put Dupont in charge and how DEP’s failure to enforce cleanup laws put their community at risk. I recommended that residents of the Town form a citizen’s group to hold Dupont and DEP accountable and hire their own independent expert to represent their interests. (see: “On a Night Like This” – and “It’s All Your Fault” which talks about Dupont’s attempt to dodge liability and blame the victims – homeowners – for Dupont’s toxic pollution:

For many years, Dupont has known – but not revealed – that toxic chemicals have seeped below the residential neighborhood surrounding the Dupont plant. But those facts now have outed and Dupont is scrambling in response to community outrage, and has promised to clean up their mess and install “vapor intrusion mitigation” systems in homes to prevent further exposure to these toxic volatile organic chemicals.

But, in reading the fine print buried on page 17 of the Dupont plan, one comes across what appears to be a benign statement:
A building survey and chemical inventory will be completed during sample collection. The presence of consumer/household products and materials and building characteristics will be documented on a Building Survey Form (see Appendix G), adapted from Appendix B of NJDEP’s Vapor Intrusion Guidance.

You see, Dupont is suggesting It’s all your fault!

Those toxic chemicals poisoning you in your home are coming NOT from the soil and groundwater polluted by Dupont, but from UNDER YOUR OWN SINK OR GARAGE!
You see, It’s all your fault!

Under the leadership of Councilman Ed Meakem and Councilwoman Lisa Riggiola and growing out of that meeting, the local activists group Citizens for a Clean Pompton Lakes (CCPL) was formed. Last night, working with Edison Wetlands Association experts and strong support from NJ Senators Lautenberg and Menendez and Congressman Pascrell, CCPL released a 10 point action plan.

this woman's husband died - she literally begged for help from someone in government after years of neglect by DEP

this woman’s husband died of cancer – she literally begged for help from someone in government after years of neglect by DEP

Despite being responsible for the cleanup and the focus of concern by the community, DEP did not even SHOW UP to the meeting. DEP’s absence outraged this woman, who said the meeting wasted her time:

where the hell is DEP? This is a wate of my time. You (DHSS) can't provide any answers or solutions!

where the hell is DEP? They should be HERE! This is a waste of my time. You (DHSS) can’t provide any answers or solutions!

Federal Agency fort Toxic Subsstances and Disease Registry reponds to Senatoor Lauitenberg's staff questions. Bog Spiegel, (L) head of Edison Wetlands Association and Jeff Winkler Chairman of CCPL don't look like they're buying it.

Federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry representative responds to Senator Lautenberg’s staff questions. Bob Spiegel, (L, rear) head of Edison Wetlands Association and Jeff Winkler Chairman of CCPL (R, rear) don’t look like they’re buying it.

standing room only at Pompton lakes High School auditorium last night

standing room only at Pompton Lakes High School auditorium last night

[Update: some cynical bastard in DHSS is trying hard to make it APPEAR that they are listening, but we are not fooled. Right click on this document “Vapor Intrusion Health Consultation” scroll down and click on “document properties” and note that the expanded area of investigation was in a document that was created 6 hours BEFORE the public meeting last night. DHSS knew their study was flawed and prepared a “expansion” BEFORE the hearing. DHSS are now trying to make that look like a concession. Just look at today’s press release:  DHSS Will Expand Analysis of Cancer, Other Health Issues in Pompton Lakes – they think we are stupid. ~~~ end update]

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  1. ConcernedNJresident
    December 16th, 2009 at 15:13 | #1

    Great story Bill. In addition no presence from NJDEP, you must note that the mayor of Pompton Lakes (who has been known as an apologist for DuPont), sat quietly in the back of the room. She made sure not to speak out, and quietly snuck out the back of the auditorium at the end of the meeting. She didn’t want to the residents to yell at her for not doing anything like at past public meetings. This was her chance to stand up in front of her 500 residents that she represents, and let them know the town supports them. FAIL.

  2. ConcernedNJresident
    December 16th, 2009 at 15:16 | #2

    Also, the mayor had the Health Consultation Cancer study in her hands on Monday, Dec 7th. On Dec 9th, residents spoke out at the council meeting outraged about the vapor systems and how it is affecting their families. She made NO mention of this cancer study report, and withheld the information from the council members. Not until it was leaked by the press did the residents even find out about the study. There is some fishy business going on in this town, and I have faith that you will expose it.

  3. December 16th, 2009 at 15:43 | #3

    Thanks concerned, you’re right about the role of the Mayor. I was not involved in that and I was made me aware of it last night by EWA activists, so I didn’t write about it.

    I did find the Mayor’s behavior curious way back in July 2008. At that time, I testified to the Council to try to help the community. Council members Ed Meakem and Lisa R. were trying to get answers to important questions too, and she seemed to be stonewalling this inquiry. She even went so far as to try to undermine me, which I found very curious at the time. Why is she so seemingly supportive of Dupont, a corporate polluter that is literally killer her constituents?

  4. December 16th, 2009 at 17:18 | #4


    I am sending you a heartfelt thank you from the Citizens For A Clean Pompton Lakes (CCPL) for coming to the meeting for the PEOPLE in Pompton last night. I honestly think it is about time for the affected residents to experience some relief from the quality of life they have been forced to live for many decades.

    Unfortunately, there was “plenty of time” for others in Government within the last twenty years to make a difference in these people lives, but their choice to do nothing and “live as if the problem went away” was the easiest choice.

    Instead of the problem going away, the result of their non-action resulted in Pompton Lakes being informed of the additional polluntant to go with the already released soil and groundwater contaimination. This third polluntant is TCE/PCE Vapor Intrusion, the third part of this horrible CHEMICAL COCKTAIL!!

    Do you know how many residents felt that the Mayor’s non-action at the meeting was NOT ACCEPTABLE? People walked up to me time and time again to ask me WHY? They wanted to know where the other Councilmembers were? If they were there, again, they said and did “NOTHING”!

    Your message was loud and clear and the information you relayed to the public, truly makes a difference. Again, thanks so much for being with us and supporting the people of Pompton Lakes!

    Any help you can continue to provide to the Citizens For A Clean Pompton Lakes (CCPL) will be appreciated more than you know.

    Until next time…

    Many thanks,

    Lisa Riggiola
    Board Member/Co-founder
    The Citizens For A Clean Pompton Lakes (CCPL)
    P.O. Box 4
    Pompton Lakes, NJ 07442

  5. December 16th, 2009 at 17:31 | #5

    Thanks Lisa – dedicated community leaders like yourself have organized the people of Pompton Lakes to make demands of government, and that has helped tremendously in at least getting some attention to long neglected major problems.

    I salute your efforts!

    Because I haven’t been involved lately in the local battle, I was reluctant to criticize the Mayor and other Council members. But I absolutely agree with you that their failures to aggressive represent the people of Pompton lakes have allowed DEP and Dupont to get away – effectively – with murder. I am always available to help CCPL in their battle with both Dupont and government.

  6. Saddened resident
    December 16th, 2009 at 19:12 | #6

    It reminds me of the Mayor that was in office before.. Stuck up for Dupont, I remember a meeting at the Wayne Manor ch 12 news was there if I can remember correctly he stated that there is nothing wrong with the water in PL.. He also would stick up for Dupont.. Something is not right here. $$$$$ payoff??? I think they should live in the houses that are effected for a couple of years with there family.. Do you think they would???? Lisa and Ed keep up the good work. And for the mayor lastnight should have said something.. Shame on her, boy how history repeats it self…

  7. December 16th, 2009 at 19:19 | #7


    I understand why you didn’t cross that path and not needed, the information you brought forward to the public was very important! So many, know the true story of the “lack of action” here in Pompton Lakes.

    SO THE TIME IS NOW FOR ACTION! Let’s move forward and make a difference.

    Again, thank you from the bottom of our hearts!


  8. January 23rd, 2010 at 02:42 | #8

    I wholeheartedly believe that The Good People of Pompton Lakes Deserve Justice, Full Disclosure, and Every Effort Towards Bona Fide Progress towards Safeguarding Their Health and Welfare. Whether you are in support of Superfund Status or you are not Its “Post Time” in my opinion that a thorough Independent Federal Investigation is Expedited by a Non-Partisan Committee Appointed by the United States Congress and to include task force members outside the NJDEP and the USEPA and with the results of a subsequent investigation report to be fully disclosed to the public. Now we need a complete all encompassing Federal investigation. If you should agree then please sign the petition which I have initiated and which is open for all legal residents of the United States who may believe in this quest for bona fide justice and progress towards the public’s health and welfare to review and to sign by logging onto: http://www.petitiononline.com/PLinvsgt/petition.html .

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