Archive for the ‘Family & kids’ Category

Bulls Island Update

March 28th, 2012 5 comments
Bulls Island - erosion controls along 100 feet of 450 foot fill (3/28/12)

Bulls Island – erosion controls along 100 feet of 450 foot fill (3/28/12)

There has been lots of activity since we last posted on 3/25, so a quick update on Bulls Island is in order. I’ll do the photos first and the regulatory stuff second.

First some good news – I visited the site again today and noted that all the tires and most (but not all) of the debris had been removed from the riverfront fill and that a 100 foot sediment control fence was installed (see above photo).

Now the bad news: for some reason the fence was only installed along 100 feet of the 450 foot long riverfront fill.

Worse, it looks like DEP plans to leave the debris & fill in place and not even try to restore the natural vegetation that was destroyed.

That is not acceptable and I will seek removal and restoration during the enforcement process.

Compared with the natural riverfront condition, the vegetative clearing and small landfill that has been created along the river is a disgrace (compare these two photos):

debris fill, bulldozed vegetation, and erosion controls

debris fill, bulldozed vegetation, and erosion controls

this is the natural condition, just 300 feet downriver

this is the natural condition, just 100 feet downriver.

A quick regulatory update.

First, here’s what I’ve gathered actually happened:

The NJ Water Supply Authority was conducting what they felt was routine maintenance dredging under a USACE permit and a DEP wetlands General Permit. On 3/21, I witnessed them filling a dump truck with dredge material for offsite disposal.

A state parks employee told me that NJWSA bulldozed debris and fill along the river at their request as a courtesy.

A NJWSA rep told me that 98% of the riverfront debris and fill was NOT from the Canal dredge operation. This is important because both the USACE and DEP permits restrict storage and disposal of dredge material and debris. Both permits do not allow riverfront disposal.

NJWSA says they have an agreement with DEP on the the wetlands permit which seasonally restrict dredging to protect trout. NJWSA says that seasonal trout restriction and any soil erosion management practices are not necessary.

The DEP wetlands permit also requires fences and seasonal restriction to protect wood turtle. NJWSA did not comment on that.

The regulatory agencies with jurisdiction/activity are:

1) US Army Corps of Engineers (D&R Canal dredge); 2) NJ DEP (wetlands permit for canal dredge and unp-ermitted activity along riverfront); 3) D&R Canal Commission (canal dredge and riverfront fill and disturbance: 4) Hunterdon County Soil Conservation Service (canal dredge and riverfront disturbance); and 5) Delaware River Basin Commission (not sure exactly what their role is).

Canal Dredge – US Army Corps of Engineers Dredge Permit

The USACE permit has a number of conditions that appear to have been violated. I sent a detailed letter to the USACE requesting compliance inspection for their permit. Let me know if you’d like a copy.

Canal Dredge – DEP Wetlands General Permit

The DEP permit had a number of conditions that appear to have been violated. Most significant include: 1) fencing and seasonal restrictions to protect wood turtle;  2) seasonal restrictions to protect downriver trout stocking; and 3) compliance with soil erosion and sediment control plan requirements.

I requested DEP enforcement inspection but not been more specific.

DEP land use enforcement advised me that DEP inspected the site on 3/13 and remarkably found no violations. I have no idea what they were looking at.

After I submitted photographs documenting violations, they agreed to reinspect the site and meet with the NJWSA and Park Supervisior. I don’t yet have documents on what occured.

Riverfront bulldozing , destruction of riparian soils & vegetation, and storage and/or disposal of debris and fill

DEP staff conducted a permit database search and told me the there were no permits issued for this activity.

What was done there appears to be a flagrant violation of DEP flood hazard control act regulatory requirements and local SCS soil erosion and sediments controls (the area was 450 feet by 30-100 feet, far greater than the 5,000 square foot threshold for permits).

I referred this for enforcement to USACE, DEP, Hunterdon County SCS and D&R Canal Commission.

I haven’t heard anything back from those agencies yet. However, I do know that DEP, D&R Canal Commission, and Hunterdon Co, SCS all conducted inspections.

Tree Health Assessment and Tree Removal Plans

This is the most important issue.

I filed an OPRA request for these documents. Today, DEP requested an extension until April 5.

In other matters, I am aware that Delare Riverkeeper filed a DEP Hotline complaint and is involved.

I’ve provided info to NJ Audubon and requested their support, particularly on the bird habitat issues related to any planned tree removal. They seem interested and supportive.

I spoke with editor of the Hunterdon County Democrat – they should be doing a followup story.

The DEP Press Office (Larry Rangonese) is unrepentant and continues to attack me and question my motives.

We will keep you posted. More photos shot today below.

looking north: silt fence installed along only 100 feet of 450 foot long fill

looking north: silt fence installed along only 100 feet of 450 foot long fill

no erosion controls - heavy rain or rising river will wash this soil, fill, and debris right into the river

no erosion controls - heavy rain or rising river will wash this soil, fill, and debris right into the river

view from the new landfill - will DEP revegetate?

view from the new landfill - will DEP revegetate?

Categories: Family & kids, Hot topics, Law & order Tags:

Dupont’s Mercury Problem Is Now EPA’s Problem Too

January 7th, 2012 25 comments

Dupont Partial Lake Cleanup Plan Uses Flawed Science to Minimize Problem

Florio Lets Liability Cat Out of the Bag

EPA must stand by Regional Administrator Enck’s commitment and their own science and reject the Dupont proposal.

sunsets on mercury laced Pompton Lake (1/5/12)

sun sets on mercury laced Pompton Lake (1/5/12)

Dupont has a big mercury problem in Pompton Lakes, NJ (in addition to the cancer cluster and vapor intrusion).

Scientifically and legally, the problem is similar to General Electric’s (GE) problem with dumping toxic and bioaccumulative PCB’s in the Hudson River, where, according to EPA:

From approximately 1947 to 1977, the General Electric Company (GE) discharged as much as 1.3 million pounds of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from its capacitor manufacturing plants at the Hudson Falls and Fort Edward facilities into the Hudson River.

That GE dumping poisoned 200 miles of the Hudson River, leading EPA to declare that portion of the River a Superfund site and forcing GE to cleanup the river at a cost of over $500 million.

Like GE, for almost 100 years, Dupont used and disposed of mercury compounds at their explosives manufacturing facility.

Like GE, mercury air emissions and mercury dumping on the Dupont site have led to significant off site releases, so that soils and sediments along the the Acid Brook, Pompton Lake, and natural resource and the downriver region are poisoned.

fish consumption warning posted on Pompton Lake

fish consumption warning posted on Pompton Lake

Mercury is highly toxic to humans, fish and wildlife – it bioaccumulates through the food chain. Its effects are magnified by predators up the food chain and persist for many years.

Like in the the Hudson River, because of mercury pollution, it is unsafe to eat freshwater fish in NJ – and consumption warnings are posted on Pompton Lake (but largely ignored).

Dupont wiped out an entire fishery.

And like Hudson River PCB’s, EPA has extensive national scientific and regulatory experience with mercury in the Great lakes region that is relevant to Dupont Pompton Lakes.

Like GE, Dupont wants to minimize the cost of cleanup and resists EPA cleanup mandates.

I don’t know about GE/Hudson, but in Pompton lakes, EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck has given the community multiple assurances that EPA will hold Dupont accountable and strictly enforce environmental laws. For example, in an October 14, 2010 reply letter, RA Enck assured me that:

You have my commitment that the Environmental Protection Agency will ensure that Dupont will fulfill its RCRA obligations for this facility.

But Dupont has proposed a partial cleanup plan of just a 26 acre portion of the 250 acre Pompton Lake – no downriver sediment removal is being considered at this time. Dozens of areas of toxic soil contamination on the Dupont site still have not been cleaned up (after 30 years).

The plan is not only for only a small part of the Lake, but it is based on flawed science.

The Dupont plan must be approved by EPA under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the most important environmental law you probably never even heard of (and the polluters like it that way).

But now the Dupont plan is in EPA’s lap, which in some ways makes Dupont’s mercury problem EPA’s problem too.

Was Dupont’s plan reviewed and approved by EPA’s national scientific experts on mercury and USFWS scientists? Here’s why we need to know answers to those questions:

I)  Florio Lets the Liability Cat Out of the Bag

Jim Florio, sponsor of 1980 Superfund law, speaks at community rally (1/5/12)

Jim Florio, sponsor of 1980 Superfund law, speaks at community rally (1/5/12)

The residents of Pompton Lakes want the site designated and cleaned up by EPA under the Superfund program.

Thus far, their primary reasons for wanting Superfund instead of RCRA is that Superfund would bring more federal resources, a higher priority and visibility, and more community involvement in cleanup decisions.

But Jim Florio, Former NJ Governor and original sponsor of the 1980 Superfund law, just let the legal liability cat out of the bag.

The Superfund liability scheme adds another very good reason to use Superfund to compel Dupont to conduct a comprehensive and complete cleanup of the entire site, Pompton Lake, and downriver and compensate the public for huge natural resource and ecological damages they have caused (just like GE in the Hudson).

Florio went out of his way to emphasize that under Superfund, the legal liability scheme is known as “strict, joint, and several”.

Practically, what this legalese essentially means is that:

  • Dupont is 100% on the hook for the ENTIRE problem
  • EPA does not have to prove negligence  by Dupont
  • EPA has enormous power to force Dupont to do a complete cleanup.

This is key because mercury pollution comes from multiple sources: coal power plants, garbage incinerators, and smelters and industrial sources.

Dupont is arguing that they are responsible ONLY for the mercury they allegedly contributed – and only via Acid Brook runoff, NOT THE TOTAL HISTORIC MERCURY AIR EMISSIONS FROM THE DUPONT PLANT AND ALL ON SITE DISPOSAL PRACTICES.

EPA has agreed to this bogus Dupont argument and that is why only a 6 inch deep small 26 acre portion of the 250 acre Lake (the “Acid Brook Delta”) sediments are being dredged.

Dupont could not get away with that under Superfund.

While it is true that EPA has less legal leverage under RCRA that Superfund, EPA still could do the right thing by forcing Dupont to scientifically establish how much mercury came from their facility and how much came from other sources.

But Dupont has not done any of that kind of work and EPA therefore has no scientific basis upon which to approve the plan. (and that’s just EPA’s problem #1)

II)  Dupont’s Science is Flawed and Can Not Be Approved BY EPA

EPA has done an enormous amount of scientific work on mercury.

In contrast with this rigorous EPA body of work, Dupont’s various regulatory documents rely on cursory and flawed science and assessment methods.

These flawed Dupont approaches provide the basis for the Dupont partial Acid Brook Delta cleanup plan and ecological assessment.

Dupont’s science and methods are inconsistent with, do not meet the rigorous standards of, and contradict EPA science. [Update: See

As such, EPA can not approve of them by approving a cleanup plan based on them.

The primary EPA scientific sources for mercury, for our purposes are (there are lots others):

(examples of additional studies of scientific and regulatory relevance are the

Compared with the EPA Recommendations to Congress on ecologically protective mercury fish tissue levels, fish in Pompton lakes contain 2 – 10 TIMES safe levels.

Depending on trophic level of the fish, the EPA finding is 0.077 ppm – 0.346 ppm.

According to DEP, the fish in Pompton Lake average 0.72 ug/g (ppm).

[Update: A May 6, 2008 DEP email to Dupont specifically addressed this issue:

in order to present a balanced comparison, DuPont shall compare the average concentrations of mercury in largemouth bass from Pompton Lake to the regional average of 0.46 ug/g mercury in largemouth bass and/or the statewide average (0.44 ug/g) in the Remedial Investigation Report.

Judith Enck, EPA region 2 ADministraor warns residents about risks of eating contaminated fish from waters nearby toxic sites

Judith Enck, EPA region 2 Administrator came to NJ to warns residents about risks of eating contaminated fish from waters nearby toxic sites

Additionally, Dupont’s ecological risk analysis is flawed, as it relies too heavily on alleged no impacts on the benthic (bottom) macroinvertebrate community structure. Community structure is a poor indicator of bioavailability, bioaccumulation, and ecological risk that I haven’t seen used anywhere else. And even if you were looking at macro invertebrates, you would be doing so to consider food chain bioaccumulation, so you would look at tissue concentration of mercury, not community structure.

[Update: I may have misread the Dupont documents on this point – macro-invertibrate community structure is of relevance, and YOY fish are trophic indicator in food web design – see Mercury Cycling in Stream Ecosystems. 3. Trophic Dynamics and Methylmercury BioaccumulationWhere Dupont draws misleading conclusion is with this assertion:

However, tissue concentrations measured in the delta in 2005 do not indicate an increased accumulation of mercury by chironomids and YOY fish tissue relative to the tissue data collected during the 1998 ecological investigation. – end update]

[Update 2 – Here is what I meant to say, as provided by DEP’s Ecological Evaluation Guidance says about limitations of macro invertebrate sampling:

Some limitations are that they do not identify the contaminant responsible for the observed toxicity, population impacts are not readily translated into contaminant remediation goals, and results are often confounded by variables not related to contaminant toxicity (predation, seasonal differences, physicochemical sediment characteristics, food availability).]

Similarly, Dupont sampled “young of year” (YOY) fish, which minimizes bioaccumulation as young fish haven’t lived long enough to bioaccumulate the mercury in the system.

Here are additional serious flaws in Dupont’s analysis:

1) I didn’t see anything in Dupont’s documents concerning terrestrial mammals

2) There was no data or discussion of the bird sampling – other than a cursory claim of low/no adverse impact on 4 of 5 bird species sampled. What bird species? What tissue (or egg shell) concentrations found? What adverse impacts were considered?

3) There was no discussion of biological mechanisms that convert mercury they propose to leave in the sediments into bioavailable forms.

4) There was no data provided or consideration given to Dupont’s historic use of mercury compounds in manufacture.

5) There was no data or estimate of Dupont’s mercury air emissions and how those emissions deposited locally.

6) There was no dating or chemical analysis of soil or sediment cores that would suggest historic patterns of mercury deposition.

7) The full extent of mercury deposition and off-site release from the Dupont facility has not be adequately characterized.

8) There was no valid characterization of “mercury background”.

[According to the USEPA, background refers to constituents that are not influenced by the discharges from a site, and is usually described as naturally occurring or anthropogenic (USEPA, 2002a). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). 2002a. “Role of Background in the CERCLA Cleanup Program.” Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response.

[ According to NJ DEP Ecological Evaluation Guidance:

Background area samples should be collected from an area outside the site’s potential influence and not in locations directly influenced by or in proximity to other obvious sources of contamination.

9) There was no data provided to support apportionment of mercury in the environment as Dupont alleges to minimize their cleanup obligations (i.e. Dupont share and other source share).

10) There was no data or estimate sof total mercury loading; mechanisms and estimates of methylation; fate/transport modeling; bioaccumulation mechanisms; and human and wildlife exposure and risk assessments from air emissions, contaminated soil, surface water runoff of mercury disposed on site.

I assume that some of this data and analysis were provided in the original ecological assessment submitted to NJ DEP in accordance with State cleanup regulations (and rubber stamped by DEP’s broken cleanup program).

[Full disclosure Update: in 1995, a former NJ Governor, with DEP’s help, was shown to misrepresent the science on mercury in fish tissue to downplay risks – when I disclosed this scheme, management retaliated and I was forced out of DEP as a whistle-blower. Hit that link for all the documentation.]

Lois Gibbs speaks at community rally (1/5/12)

Lois Gibbs speaks at community rally (1/5/12)

However, this is an EPA federal RCRA action that must be EPA approved. Accordingly,  all the documents must be made available to the public during the comment period. That has not been done in this case so EPA can not approve the Dupont plan based on documents and analyses that have not been made publicly available.

III)  EPA is Required to Consult with US Fish and Wildlife Service

RCRA regulations require EPA to consult with federal agencies, including the US Fish and Wildlife Service during the RCRA permit process.

We advised EPA Regional Administrator Enck on November 17, 2011 that RCRA regulations include full federal partner review including, but not limited to, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry, pursuant to regulation 40 CFR 124.10(c)(iii).

Certainly such consultation is required BEFORE EPA issues a “tentative approval” and proposes a draft RCRA permit for public comment.

Thus far, it appears that EPA has not complied with these consultation requirements prior to issuing the draft permit.

IV)  Dupont is Required to Comply with Clean Water Act Standards

The federal Clean Water Act applies to Dupont’s water pollution discharges.

The CWA also applies to the RCRA permit process, which must meet CWA requirements.

NJ DEP State surface water quality standards (SWQS) have been approved by EPA and are federally enforceable. They trigger enforceable requirements on pollution discharge that may “cause or contribute to” a violation of a SWQS.

NJ DEP SWQS designate Pompton Lake for recreational use (fishing, swimming,etc), aquatic life protections, and water supply.

The SWQS have policies and narrative and numeric standards that the RCRA permit and Dupont clean up must comply with.

The Dupont proposed cleanup plan provides no discussion or demonstration regarding compliance with the legally applicable and binding provisions of the CWA or NJ SWQS.

Accordingly, EPA can not approve the Dupont proposal as a final RCRA permit in the absence of this compliance demonstration.

EPA must stand by their own science. According to the EPA supported NJ DEP wildlife criteria proposal. According to the DEP SWQS proposal (which USFWS and EPA supported)::

“As part of the 1994 approval of the New Jersey SWQS triennial review process, the USEPA, in collaboration with the USFWS, indicated that the human health based criteria for PCBs were not protective of the threatened and endangered species bald eagle, peregrine falcon, and dwarf wedgemussel. As a result, the Service prepared a Biological Opinion document in 1996 (Biological opinion on the effects of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s approval of the state of New Jersey’s surface water quality standards on the bald eagle, peregrine falcon, and dwarf wedgemussel. U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish & Wildlife Service, New Jersey Field Office, Pleasantville, New Jersey. 1996). The lack of wildlife criteria for DDT and its metabolites, mercury, and PCBs was a concern to the USFWS. DDT and its metabolites, mercury, and PCBs are bioaccumulative pollutants that are persistent in the environment, accumulate in biological tissues, and biomagnify in the food chain. Due to these characteristics, the concentration of these contaminants may increase as they are transferred up through various food chain levels. As a result, adverse impacts to non-aquatic, piscivorous (fish-eating) organisms may arise from low surface water concentrations. The peregrine falcon is not a piscivorous species. However, it feeds on other piscivorous bird species. Therefore, biomagnification may be of even greater concern for the peregrine falcon.

The USEPA developed site-specific wildlife criteria for the Great Lakes based on a number of factors, including the toxicity of various pollutants and their tendency to bioaccumulate and biomagnify. In addition, the USEPA gathered and applied information about piscivorous wildlife endemic to the Great Lakes region in its derivation of water quality criteria. That effort resulted in the promulgation of numeric surface water concentrations designed to be protective of all avian and mammalian wildlife using Great Lakes waters. “

EPA must now stand by Regional Administrator Enck’s commitment and their own science and reject the Dupont proposal.

1) Dupont’s proposed cleanup of Acid Brook Delta is only partial – we demand that all mercury and all pollutants be completely and permanently cleaned up so that the Lake is fishable and swimmable as mandated by the federal Clean Water Act and NJ Water Pollution Control Act;

2) The original 1992 EPA issued RCRA permit must be enforced and has numerous loopholes that must be closed – all RCRA “SWMU’s” and off site releases which are sources of toxic soil, sediment, vapor, and groundwater contamination must be cleaned up under more aggressive schedules and obligations than those EPA unilaterally imposed in a “compliance schedule modification” on May 4, 2010 without public notice and comment;

3) Natural resource damages and toxic fish and wildlife impacts of Dupont’s pollution have not been assessed fully and must be assessed and the public fully compensated;

4) EPA must take enforcement action and collect fines such that vapor mitigation systems are immediately installed in all impacted homes.

The plume area may be larger than currently thought, when subsurface infrastructure migration is considered.

Rally before EPA RCRA permit hearing (1/5/12)

Rally before EPA RCRA permit hearing (1/5/12)

State Line Trail – AT

December 13th, 2011 No comments

This hike is one of the best – see NY/NJ Trail Conference for info:

I set out from the trailhead just west of (above) Greenwood Lake marina.

Appalachian Trail - at NY/NJ Border

Appalachian Trail - at NY/NJ Border

Perfect day – some ice on rocks in the morning, but it warmed up pretty quickly.

Superb views of Greenwood Lake, and north towards Bear Mountain. Too bad that high ozone haze impeded views somewhat.

Managed to re-sprain my ankle along the AT just about a mile north of the state line (I sprained it a little over a month ago playing soccer with kids next door).

So it was tricky coming down, as I had to “club foot” as I rock hopped along downhill portions of the trail that were flowing streams and/or leaf covered rocks.

After I got back in the car, needed some refreshments, but the Rainbow Inn was closed for the season, so, had to drive home hungry and with a stiff ankle! Check out the show:

Greenwood Lake

Greenwood Lake








Categories: Family & kids, personal Tags:

Orwell Lives – Stenographic Praise Displaces Journalism

June 6th, 2010 No comments

DEP NOT using huge regulatory powers to protect public health from known risks

I just posted the below as an Update to my piece yesterday on the DEP’s new dry cleaner grant program, but now realize that the underlying public policy and journalism issues deserve individual attention.

I initially sought to clarify the original post based on a conversation that emerged in a discussion of this issue on a national TCE (perc) listserve. The listserve discussion was focused on vapor intrusion of chemicals into about 450 homes in Pompton Lakes NJ from the Dupont site.

We were involved at the outset in Pompton Lakes (see this) and have written extensively about the situation (see this and this). Jim O’Neill of the Bergen Record has written several outstanding killer storries, most recently this: Dupont’s Danger Was Hidden Away.

But then I read the Star Ledger coverage  of DEP’s dry cleaner grant program and my head exploded. So, here’s the story.

A national vapor intrusion expert replied to my post to note that dry cleaned clothes can “off gas” perc in homes, and resemble vapor intrusion. I agreed, and said that perc also can enter homes from nearby industrial air emission sources (e.g. dry cleaners, chemical plants, et al).

I then tried to explain why the perc indoor vapor intrusion risks and outdoor ambient air risks were related and why I was so disgusted by the DEP press release touting the dry cleaner grant program.

You see, the “new” NJ DEP leadership makes a lot of noise in the press, especially in the Pompton Lakes community, that they are aggressively acting to protect public health. They say that now that they are aware of what’s going on in Pompton Lakes, they have made protecting the community a priority (in contrast to 25 years of prior DEP administration’s, who apparently either didn’t know or care about Dupont PL)

I don’t know how they pull that off, because the current Deputy Commissioner – who some say is really running the DEP due to the Commissioner’s lack of qualifications and experience -was the former head of the “broken” Site Remediation Program, which had “oversight” of Dupont, Pompton Lakes. In fact, her first public appearance as Deputy Commissioner was in Pompton Lakes,  where she was almost tarred and feathered for her comments and arrogant demeanor that gravely insulted residents.

The key point is that DEP has huge regulatory power to protect public health from serious known risks that they are NOT using.

The abandonment of the dry cleaner perc phase our rule is just one example of that.

In addition to the sham Pompton Lakes claims, DEP engages in PR stunts like the $5 million dry cleaner grant program – aside from getting the situation backwards by saying that polluting dry cleaners make “sacrifices” (instead of recognizing the fact that people’s health is sacrificed for the profits of polluters), DEP even have the chutzpah to note this:

 “Priorities for the grant money are dry cleaners located in residential settings, such as apartment buildings or mixed commercial and residential strip malls, and those located within 50 feet of day care centers.”

While DEP may consider proximity and residential/day care location risk in the dry cleaner grant program, the larger reality is:

1) DEP has no statewide vapor intrusion (VI) program. What DEP does on VI risks is site specific and privatized. The pace and extent of any VI investigation and remedy is under the control of polluters, not based on public health. DEP is well aware of scores of volatile organic contaminant groundwater plumes under occupied buildings that cause VI risks, yet does nothing to warn or protect the people in those buildings;

2) DEP is well aware of the fact that the DHSS school and day care center VI risk standards are based on a 1 in 10,000 risk level. Instead of adopting protective regulations using a  more conservative  risk standard for this extremely sensitive sub-population (i.e. children), current NJ school and day care standards are 100 times WEAKER than other DEP soil, water, and VI standards, which are based on 1 in a million risk level (which is derived by risk assessments that assume a healthy adult male exposure, not a developing child’s as mandted by law!); (i.e. for easy confirmation, see page 40-43 of DHSS rule adoption document – which flat out contradicts the “Kiddie Kollege” law, which mandates adoption of children’s health based state-wide DHSS standards, not site specific judgements); and

3) DEP does not have air quality standards or enforceable permit regulations to address exactly the kind of risky and unacceptable situation they describe in their press release, e.g. when an industrial emission source is located very close to homes or schools, DEP does not consider those health risks in setting permit emission limits on that source!!!

DEP knows all this irresponsible abdication, yet they get away with writing Orwellian press releases – which amounts to lying to the public – and no one calls them on it! – reporters instead stenographhically praise DEP for it!

Rank Propaganda at DEP

June 5th, 2010 No comments

Unplug, unwind … and get your kids outdoors!June is Great Outdoors Month, a perfect time to launch kids on a lifetime of appreciation for New Jersey’s many natural wonders, such as this stream in Stokes State Forest in the Skylands region. Special programs introducing families to fishing, camping, natural history and much more will be held at state parks, forests and wildlife management areas through the month. Learn more.


While I am all for getting outdoors with the kids, what DEP fails to tell the public – and in the process misleads the public – is that wading in NJ streams like that depicted in the photo above would result in a high probability of being exposed to unsafe bacteria that could make kids sick.

While streams in Stokes State Forest are clean, most NJ streams are highly polluted.

In fact, according to DEP’s own data, only 19% of NJ streams, lakes, and rivers attained the DEP’s own recreational use standards, which are designed to protect public health. Attainment of those standards is measured by the presence of bacterial indicators of pathogens, like e. coli bacteria (see page 44, DEP Water Quality Assessment Report).

Attainment of the recreational use standards in the inland freshwater streams is actually far less than 19% because of relativley high rates of recreational use attainment in ocean waters.

Photography by a government agency should inform the public and depict truth – unfortunately, the very positive responses elicited by the DEP webpage photo are contradicted by DEP’s own science and data.

DEP should be reporting accurate data on water quality to the public – not withholding that data and presenting highly misleading positive images that contradict a rather negative reality.

That’s called propaganda.

Perhaps if NJ residents knew how polluted our waters are, they might do something about it.

[Update 1: 6/8/10 – is DEP press office reading WolfeNotes? Check this out: COMMISSIONER AIMS TO PROTECT PUBLIC HEALTH AND SHELLFISH INDUSTRY

[Update 2: 6/13/10 – Star Ledger ran a good story:  Environmentalists say shutdown of N.J. oyster beds could have detrimental effects about the shellfish monitoring and enforcemnent problems at DEP – in my view, Commissioner Martin again showed poor judgement (similar to Gulf Spill Reponse Team and Exelon Spill Act Directive press releases) and acted in a way to mask major problems at DEP and creating a miselading appearance that he is agressively protecting public health].

Categories: Family & kids Tags: