DEP Drags Feet on Review of Youth Soccer Field Toxics Sampling
[Important update below - sampling data]
Back on July 10, 2008, when I was a lowly citizen scribe at the Star Ledger’s “NJ Voices”, in my initial foray into the Dupont Pompton Lakes quagmire, I wrote this about the above photo: (On a Night Like This):
Soaked to the bone, after the deluge passed I explored the perimeter of the Dupont site and managed to come across a soccer field and the DEP “Cannonball Trail” trailhead. Since most folks prefer to live, work and have their kids play as far away from a toxic waste site as possible, lets just say I was surprised by what I found -
This soccer field is named Dupont Field. It is completely surrounded by groundwater monitoring wells and a “pump and treat” system. I was told that the highly polluted groundwater is pumped out of the ground, treated, and then recharged back into the ground ON the soccer field. So kids play on a hazardous wast treatment unit! Only in NJ!
Almost four years later, a review of internal DEP emails shows that my column opened some eyes in Pompton Lakes and at Dupont, if not DEP.
It is no secret that I am a harsh critic of the pace of the cleanup and the lax DEP, EPA and lack of any sense of urgency in local oversight.
So, I was not surprised by reading through a trove of DEP emails I was just given.
Here’s internal DEP emails that show that Dupont was forced to conduct sampling on those soccer fields I wrote about on July 10.
It turns out that Dupont was required to conduct sampling there, and reported results to DEP in November 2008 (hey, that’s only 4 months, greased lighting!. But, sorry, I don’t have the results. If interested, suggest you submit an OPRA request to DEP):
[Update: 1/20/12 - a source just emailed me the sampling data. The soccer field was sampled back in 1990, with results presented twelve years later in a "Perimeter Sampling" Report dated October 25, 2002 - here it is, from arsenic to zinc. For anyone reviewing this data, here are the applicable DEP soil cleanup standards, which should have been listed side-by-side with results in the Dupont report.
Right off the bat, the sampling results (1.2 - 4.6 ppm) exceed (violate) the DEP arsenic soil cleanup standard (i.e. the residential direct contact standard is 0.4 ppm). I will now review the rest of the data.]
[Update 2 - the analytical screening value for benzidine is seriously flawed. Results are reported as less than 0.35 ppm, but the DEP standard is 0.002 ppm, more than 100 TIMES lower. Similar problem with benzo(A)pyrene, bischloroether and others. No confidence in this data - too old and not designed for compliance with current DEP standards.]
From: “David E Epps” (David.E.Epps@USA.dupont.com)
Subject: Soccer Field data
Date: Mon, 03 Nov 2008 14:05
To: “Faranca, Frank” (Frank.Faranca@dep.state.nj.us)
To: “Boyer, John” (John.Boyer@dep.state.nj.us)
cc: “eichlin, norma” (email@example.com)
cc: “Boettler, Albert J” (Albert.J.Boettler@USA.dupont.com)
As requested, attached is an excel file that lists the data from the soccer field samples and the text (along with a map) cut from the South Plant RIR.
David E. Epps
David E. Epps
Pompton Lakes Works, Project Director
DuPont Corporate Remediation Group
Direct: Â 973-492-7733
Safety is a team effort with individual responsibilities
But, repeating a chronic pattern of failure – see
- NY Times story: Memo Shows Agency Knew of Danger in Child Care Building
- TOXIC NEW JERSEY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL FINALLY WINS RELIEF
- PROBE CALLED FOR IN NEW JERSEY TOXIC HIGH SCHOOL FIASCO-
- NEW JERSEY AGENCY LETS KIDS PLAY ON TOXIC WASTE PILES
- Memo to DEP: Protect Kids – Enforce the Law
it looks like DEP was indifferent and had no sense of urgency in finding out if kids were playing on a toxic waste site . DEP dragged their feet for months on reviewing the Dupont sampling results:
Hi Gwen,John Boyer and Mindy reminded me again that they can not keep up with Pompton Lakes and that I will need to anticipate significant delays moving forward.Â The Mayor has requested that the DEPÂ review all the soccer field (owned by DuPont) soil data to determine if it is safe to play.Â Â This will not be reviewed for months (according to John) and Mindy will be communicating the same to the Mayor. FYIFrank
Oh well – what else is new?
But at least on this issue, I owe Mayor Cole an apology. It looks like she was pushing for sampling.