Home > Uncategorized > Dupont Corporate Flack Misleads Residents and Planning Board

Dupont Corporate Flack Misleads Residents and Planning Board

Dupont Proposed Lake Cleanup Plan is Dead – Expanded Plan Required

[Update: Looks like we have a minor victory. Shortly after this post, the Pompton Lakes Planning Board apparently decided NOT to hear the Dupont mining permit application tonight. It is not clear if the applicant Dupont requested that the application be withdrawn and/or removed from the agenda, or whether the Planning Board decided to remove it. Regardless, once an application is listed in a public notice as an agenda item, any decision to revise the agenda should be explained, done in the open, and on the record – not like it was done here, via website notice. Looks like more Dupont dominated inept government in Pompton Lakes.]

A brief update on Dupont Pompton Lakes developments.

Despite the fact that critical review comments by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) effectively killed Dupont’s proposed Acid Brook Delta cleanup plan in Pompton Lakes, the Dupont Corporation is still seeking a local soil mining permit for the derailed cleanup plan.

Key USFWS findings as Superfund Natural Resource Trustee:

  • the Service does not believe that the proposed remedial action, as currently planned, will completely address historical releases nor be sufficient to protect against future injury to Federal trust resources from residual contamination originating from the [Dupont] PLW
  • we believe that significant contamination will remain
  • thresholds to evaluate risk to both fish and avian fauna are antiquated and not protective

EPA has considered USFWS comments and strong public criticism and decided to shelve a proposed RCRA permit modification required to implement the Dupont Lake cleanup plan.

But curiously, tonight the Pompton Lakes Planning Board will conduct another public hearing on a local soil mining permit required for Dupont’s  proposed plan to dredge a small portion of the Acid Brook Delta area of Pompton Lake.

As part of that effort, a Dupont corporate flack now has jumped into the debate behind the scenes to defend the derailed cleanup plan.

It seems like Dupont is trying to lock into an incomplete and scientifically flawed cleanup plan and block EPA from expanding Dupont’s cleanup obligations to reflect the USFWS concerns.

The Dupont flack’s email fails to say anything about the status of EPA RCRA permit or the USFWS concerns about the Dupont proposed Lake dredging project.

Instead, Dupont is misleading residents and the Planning Board via email replies to various questions being raised by residents (see below email exchange and my pushback against Dupont).

Dupont’s proposed cleanup plan has been scientifically discredited by the USFWS, who found the ecological science supporting the plan “antiquated” and “not protective”.

USFWS also found that unacceptable levels of toxic mercury would be allowed to remain in Lake sediments and has opened Natural Resource Injury restoration negotiations with Dupont.

As a result, EPA is not able to issue a final RCRA permit that relies on Dupont’s flawed science. That is why EPA withdrew the proposed draft permit.

So, now is the time for EPA to conduct a de novo review of Dupont’s science and overall cleanup approach.

We have urged EPA Region 2 Administrator Judith Enck to:

1) expand Dupont’s mercury cleanup obligations in a scientifically credible way that characterizes “background”,  accounts for Dupont’s historical on and off site releases of mercury, derives an ecologically based cleanup standard, and removes all contaminated soils and sediments in Pompton Lake and up and down river;

2) conduct new sampling of soils, sediments, and biota (wildlife tissue) to document the full extent of on and off site releases and natural resource injuries;

3) rescind the prior “RCRA permit compliance schedule modification” and consolidate new site wide and off site remedial requirements in an enforceable RCRA Order under RCRA Section 3004(u), 3008(h) or relevant Superfund enforcement authority;

4) require that Dupont pay for replacements and/or repairs to improperly installed vapor intrusion mitigation systems.

5) meet with the residents on the community to assure adequate input on 1-4 above.

Here’s my email note to Dupont corporate flack, Ed Seger:

Mr. Seger – responding to your reply to Mr. George Popov:

Surely you and Dupont corporate level managers must realize that:

1)  the “best available technology” has absolutely nothing to do with Dupont’s cleanup obligations or how those obligations are derived;

2) the US Fish and Wildlife Service comments found Dupont’s ecological science – which forms the basis of the Acid Brook Delta (ABD) proposed remediation – “antiquated” and “not protective”, among other things;

3) USFWS found numerous scientific and technical flaws with Dupont’s proposed ABD remediation plan and determined that unacceptable levels of mercury would be left behind;

4) given USFWS comments and public criticisms of the Dupont ABD plan, that proposed plan is effectively not approvable as a RCRA permit modification.

We believe that EPA is reconsidering – in de novo fashion – Dupont’s remedial approach to ABD and other mercury impacted areas both on and off the Dupont site.

Given the above, it is premature and disingenuous to pursue a local soil mining permit at this time.

Your replies, please.

Bill Wolfe

Here is Seger’s email to residents questions:

George: (Popov)

Many of the documents are voluminous due to the amount of information they contain and as such are too large to transmit via email.  However they have been provided to the Pompton Lakes Library for public use and some can be found on the EPA website http://www.epa.gov/region2/waste/dupont_pompton/additionaldocs.html#AcidBrook .  As we have encouraged everyone interested in this project, a review of all the documents prepared for this project is helpful in order to develop a comprehensive understanding of the conditions within the lake and the information used to develop the remedial approach.

With regards to your original question, a description of the dewatering process to be used along with the laboratory testing data is provided within the final CMI Work Plan submitted to the regulatory agencies for review in September 2011.  Results show that 0.5 parts per billion or less are present in the water which would be returned to the active work area.  It is important to note that the remainder of  the lake is separated from the work area by not only a silt curtain but with a rigid barrier as well.  In addition we will monitor water quality outside the work area.  This monitoring program is also described within the CMI Work Plan.

Below are answers (in blue text) to your most recent questions.

Here are Dupont’s incomplete and misleading  replies to specific questions by residents:

In order to ensure that you receive exactly what you are requesting, we would suggest you contact the regulatory agencies for this material.

The sediment impacted within the remediation area described in the CMI Work Plan will be removed using the best available technology to achieve the remedial  goals which have been developed to be protective of people and the environment.  Excavation of an average 18 inches and up to several feet across the area is supported by over one thousand (1,000) environmental samples collected from within the lake during the Remedial Investigation process.  These samples delineate where contamination exists.  The data collected during the Remedial Investigation was also used to determine the extent of vertical removal to ensure that dredging was completed to a zone where sample results were below remedial action objectives.  Therefore, additional samples are not warranted to further define vertical extent of contamination as they have already been collected during the Remedial Investigation.

As described in the CMI Work Plan, an average of 18 inches of sediment will be removed across the remediation area.  A survey was not completed to identify where contamination is present, but was based on numerous locations where actual environmental samples were collected and analyzed by a certified laboratory during the Remedial Investigation process.  Detailed information related to the results of this sampling are presented in the Remedial Investigation Report.  We believe that the extent of contamination requiring removal has been determined accurately and the remedy proposes the dredging of all impacted sediment within the remedial area to an elevation where the analytical samples results are below the remedial objectives.  The dredge utilizes highly accurate GPS technology which along with an elevation survey will be used to ensure that the correct removal elevation was achieved.  This process is described within the CMI Work Plan.

This is not part of the soil mining permit we are applying for and as such there are no plans to collect samples.  However, wells within the plume area are sampled on a semi-annual basis for site related constituents. Concentrations within these wells are continuing to go down and in the area you are referring to have shown decreases to below the drinking water standards.  Historical data for these wells is contained in the document entitledComprehensive Groundwater Monitoring Program,dated November 1995.  In addition the semi-annual sampling results are provided in an annual report to the regulatory agencies.  These reports are available in the Pompton Lakes Library.  The 1995 document was reviewed by the EPA TASC contractor and contains sample results for those constituents related to the delta remediation.  As shown in this document mercury was not detected in off-site wells.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:
  1. March 20th, 2012 at 15:10 | #1

    USFW input was an eye-opener! The fact that their the Soil Removal Application has not been withdrawn even through the EPA has made the decision not to move forward with the current proposed Acid Brook Delta Remediation as it sits right now is beyond me. Meanwhile, the majority on the PL Enviro. CAG (not the Pompton Lakes Community Advisory Group (CAG) – http://www.pomptonlakescag.org) have should very little concern at all and basically done nothing but support this flawed remediation from the get-go. Many residents want to know why were there granted right to sit in those seats in the first place? DuPont should do the right thing and not continue slapping the residents living in toxins in the face and withdraw their application now.

  2. March 21st, 2012 at 15:39 | #2

    Bill I am confused I thought the Dupont people were saying the soil app. is only for the soil on two lots of dry land and the State Permits cover soil under water? I know the Planning Board did not agree with Dupont on that issue. Can you provide any info. on that?

  3. March 21st, 2012 at 15:57 | #3

    @Ed Meakem

    Ed – I haven’t reviewed PL soil mining permit ordinance or the application now before the board so it is difficult to be precise.

    But, the gist of what I gather is that I might agree with what you and Dupont have claimed. The Lake sediments are not soil, so the ordinance probably does not apply to the Dupont dredge contemplated under the EPA draft RCRA permit for ABD.

    Regardless, even if the local soil mining ordinance does NOT apply to the dredging of the Lake sediments, the local permit should wait until EPA approves the dredge project for the entire lake.

    If EPA expands the dredge requirements, as I expect, then Dupont may have to come in for additional soil disturbance areas (e.g. more than the 2 lots you say are the scope of the current soil permit application).

    For similar reasons, DEP should hold off on the wetlands and stream encroachment permits.

  4. March 23rd, 2012 at 13:06 | #4

    MAJOR SOIL MINING PERMIT OR MAJOR SOIL REMOVAL PERMIT — A permit for the moving of 500 cubic yards or more of soil.

    MINE — To move soil or minerals.

    MINOR SOIL MINING PERMIT OR MINOR SOIL PERMIT — A permit for the moving of less than 500 cubic yards of soil.

    MOVE — To dig, to excavate, to remove, to deposit, to place, to fill, to grade, regrade, level to otherwise alter or change the location or contour; to transport or to supply. “Move” shall not be construed to include plowing, spading, cultivation, harrowing or discing of soil or any other operation usually and ordinarily associated with the preparation of soil for agricultural or horticultural purposes.

    OWNER — Any person seized in fee simple of any lot or having such other interest or estate therein as will permit exercise or effective possession thereof or dominion thereover.

    PERSON — Any individual, firm, association, partnership or cooperation of any group of two or more of them.

    SOIL — Any earth, sand, clay, loam, gravel, humus, rock or dirt, without regard to the presence or absence therein of organic matter.

    TOPSOIL — Soil that, in its natural state, constitutes the top layer of earth and is composed of 2% or more, by weight, of organic matter and has the ability to support vegetation.

    TREE — Any woody perennial plant with one main trunk, such trunk having a diameter of at least four inches when measured 4 1/2 feet above the ground.

    WOODED AREA — An area of the property which is the subject of a soil mining permit application, said area consisting of at least 100 square feet, the surface of which is vegetated so as to form a visual screen.

  1. No trackbacks yet.
You must be logged in to post a comment.