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Is Pompton Lakes The Most Corrupt Local Government In NJ?

Still A Dupont Company Town 20 Years After Dupont Plant Closure

Local Officials Refuse Residents’ Request To Post Toxic Fish Warning Signs

I’ve been following the various debates in Pompton Lakes growing out of the Dupont toxic site since former Councilman Ed Meakem invited me to make a presentation to the Township Committee on NJ’s site remediation laws back in July 2008, see this report I wrote at the time for the Star Ledger:

During these 6+ years, I have witnessed an unbelievable pattern of contempt by local officials for public health and the environment, as well as the interests of a large number of residents who live above the toxic groundwater plume, suffer vapor intrusion of carcinogenic industrial chemicals into their homes,  and/or send their kids to schools that may be contaminated by Dupont poisons, including lead, mercury and various organic chemicals in soil, groundwater, Acid Brook, Pompton Lake and the Ramapo river.

Off the top of my head, just some of the egregious actions include:

  • a former Mayor publicly spoke about threats to his life for seeking to hold Dupont accountable for their toxic pollution;
  • former Council members Meaken and Lisa Riggiola, who spoke out about the Dupont site and tried to hold Dupont, EPA ,and DEP accountable, were swiftly unelected after just one term in office. I’ve never seen local officials ousted for doing the right thing like that;
  • the local environmental “professional” lacks qualifications and his salary was paid for by Dupont for many years;
  • the town let children play soccer on a field that was a federally regulated Dupont hazardous waste management unit;
  • after I spoke to Council in July 2008 about flaws in NJ toxic site cleanup laws, the DEP supervised cleanup process, and urged them to hire an independent professional to represent the towns’ interests, instead of thanked, I was attacked by 2 Council members.  One of those Councilmen’s wife was a DEP employee. A later file review showed that this Councilman’s wife had conducted DEP enforcement inspections at the Dupont site. I would later file an ethics complaint against this DEP employee for violations of DEP’s ethics requirements for publicly speaking out in support of Dupont’s cleanup efforts and creating the appearance she was speaking for DEP;
  • I have been personally smeared by local officials, including by one man with gross economic conflicts of interests in downtown economic development and who has undisclosed economic relationships with Dupont;
  • the Council consistently OPPOSES efforts by local residents to force Dupont, EPA, and DEP to accelerate and improve the cleanup. They claim that residents are giving the town a “black eye” and “stigma” and reducing property values for even publicly talking about the toxic contamination that pervades the town;
  • while criticizing local residents who are desperately trying to get Dupont to cleanup the toxic mess they made, local officials have never once, that I am aware of, publicly criticized Dupont for poisoning their town or tried to hold Dupont accountable for cleanup during 30 years of delays;
  • local officials have flouted DEP regulations on various projects, most recently regarding an illegal dredging operation that was shut down following complaints to US EPA; and
  • local contractors have threatened residents and environmental groups who exposed the illegal dredging operation – with no response from Council for that highly improper and unacceptable behavior.

These are just off the top of my head – residents can tell many more horror stories of how local officials have repeatedly opposed their efforts and instead backed the interests of Dupont, EPA or DEP.

fish consumption warning posted on Pompton Lake

fish consumption warning posted on Pompton Lake

I encourage residents to do so in comments on this post – it would be interesting to assemble an inventory of Pompton lakes corruption.

The most recent episode that repeated this pattern of utter disregard for public health is the refusal by local officials to post fish consumption advisory signs around Pompton lake, warning fishermen and residents that it is unsafe to eat fish caught in the lake.

Here is today’s rejection of that repeated request by Lisa Riggiola of CCPL, via email from Borough Administrator Kevin Boyle (the official who was responsible for and made misleading statements about the illegal dreading operation that was shut down recently):


From: Kevin Boyle <administrator@pomptonlakesgov.com>
To: ‘Lisa Riggiola’ <theccpl@yahoo.com>
Cc: ‘T. Duffy’ <tduffy@pomptonlakesgov.com>; bsteltzer@pomptonlakesgov.com; ‘Info’ <info@pomptonlakescag.org>
Sent: Friday, December 5, 2014 7:10 AM
Subject: RE: Can you please help – a critical question and also a concern in Pompton Lakes, NJ

I only order the signs when replacement is needed. As I said, DPW will install replacement signs where needed at the current locations. Where they are placed I do not really know. They have been installed & replaced in the same locations for years & way before I started here in 2012.  Have a great weekend……

The locals won’t put up fish consumption warning signs up because:

1) warning signs make Dupont’s toxic pollution more well known and that embarrasses and is opposed by Dupont;

2) warning signs are more “stigma”, because they tell the public about toxic pollution problems in PL.

3) local officials don’t care about public health and have other higher priorities.

The priorities they care about are: a) the perception of the town (stigma); b) downtown economic development; c) property values (tax revenues); and d) Dupont.

Signs would create more “stigma”; potentially reduce economic development opportunities and property values; and are opposed by Dupont.

We will raise the issue of the need for fish consumption warning signs at the upcoming Monday night public hearing on the EPA draft permit that would require that Dupont cleanup a portion of mercury contaminated sediments in a portion of Pompton Lake. Hope to see you there.

EPA Region 2 Administrator Judith Enck warns the public about fish consumption at NJ Superfund site (Cornel Dublier)

EPA Region 2 Administrator Judith Enck warns the public about fish consumption at NJ Superfund site (Cornel Dublier)

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  1. December 5th, 2014 at 15:21 | #1

    Long overdue & thank you.

  2. corportepollutionfighter
    December 5th, 2014 at 15:40 | #2

    The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? If only that were truth here in Pompton Lakes. Thank you for telling it like it is..sad way to run a community!

  1. December 23rd, 2014 at 13:10 | #1
  2. May 1st, 2015 at 03:33 | #2
  3. May 28th, 2015 at 02:49 | #3
  4. May 28th, 2015 at 10:03 | #4
  5. May 31st, 2015 at 17:20 | #5
  6. May 31st, 2015 at 17:20 | #6
  7. June 2nd, 2015 at 02:50 | #7
  8. August 20th, 2018 at 13:04 | #8
  9. March 27th, 2019 at 23:12 | #9
  10. June 19th, 2019 at 23:07 | #10
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