EPA Secures Funding to Cleanup the Passaic River

Contamination in water, river and bay bottom sediment, wetland, and shoreline habitats poses risks to invertebrates, fish, and wildlife.
Contamination in water, river and bay bottom sediment, wetland, and shoreline habitats poses risks to invertebrates, fish, and wildlife.

EPA Secures Funding to Cleanup the Passaic River

October 6, 2016

On October 5, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a major step forward in the cleanup of the Passaic River, N.J., by securing $165 million to conduct sampling, design and engineering work needed to implement a $1.38 billion dredging plan that EPA documented in March of 2016. 

The legal agreement is with one of more than 100 parties identified as potentially responsible for contamination of the lower Passaic River. The EPA will pursue additional agreements with the other parties legally responsible for the contamination to ensure that the cleanup work in the lower 8.3 miles of the Passaic River will be carried out and paid for by those responsible for the pollution as required by the Superfund law.

The sediment in this portion of the lower Passaic River, which is part of the Diamond Alkali Superfund Site, is severely contaminated with dioxin, PCBs, heavy metals, pesticides, and other contaminants. Fish and shellfish in the lower Passaic and Newark Bay are highly contaminated and fisheries along the river have long been closed due to the contamination. The lower 8.3 miles of the Passaic is the most heavily contaminated section of the river.

“This agreement is a significant step towards the cleanup and restoration of the Passaic River,” said Tony Penn, manager of NOAA’s Assessment and Restoration Division. “It brings us closer to the eventual recovery of the river, which will benefit the coastal communities that depend on clean and abundant fish and wildlife, and improved navigation.”

To learn more about the Lower Passaic Restoration Project, please visit Our Passaic.

To learn about the natural resource damage assessment being conducted by NOAA and co-trustees on this Superfund site, please visit Lower Passaic River and Greater Newark Bay.