For Immediate Release
Contact: Jeff Tittel, NJ Sierra Club, 609-558-9100
The underground pollution plume from the Ciba-Geigy Superfund Site has been cut in half after 24 years of pumping and treating polluted groundwater. Over 10 billion gallons of polluted groundwater have been treated to remove contaminants and then recharged onto land in the property’s northeast corner.
“After 24 years, one of the worst superfunds sites in the country is still bad, if only half as bad. It just shows that they need to do a lot more and get it done quicker. The people of Toms River have been suffering from the contamination coming from this site for too long. It is ridiculous that only half of the pollution has been cleaned up in over two decades. They have treated over 10 billion gallons of contaminated groundwater, which means that there are at least another 10 billion gallons that still need to be treated,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.“Cleaning up only half of the pollution is only half a loaf, but the half a loaf is still too toxic to eat. There is still a lot more that needs to be done to protect the people of Toms River.”
Pollution from the site was first found in Windsor Park groundwater in the early 1990s after 7 residential wells in the area of Beachwood and Veeder Avenues were found to contain mercury concentrations above the state standard of 2 parts per billion. The site prompted lawsuits and a $13 million settlement to nearby families stricken with cancer.
“The people of Toms River have been suffering from contamination for too long. The Ciba-Geigy site has been on the Superfund List since 1982, and it is still one of the most contaminated sites in the country. The EPA needs to move faster and do more to protect the people of Toms River. The chemicals on Ciba-Geigy can cause miscarriages and lots of different cancers,” said Tittel. “We have been involved in cleaning up the Ciba-Geigy site and other contaminated sites in Toms River for over 30 years. They need to keep working toward a full cleanup of the property. It is too important for the health and safety of the community.”
Roughly the size of Hoboken, at 1.25 sq. miles – the Ciba property is the largest continuous piece of undeveloped land in Toms River. The EPA has been overseeing cleanup at the Ciba site since the property was placed on the federal Superfund list in 1982.
“The EPA and DEP need to work together to make sure the site is properly cleaned up. There is still a long way to go despite the fact that the pollution plume has been decreased. At this rate, there will still be contamination at the site until 2044 at least. Tens of thousands of waste still remain at the site’s landfills, and over 10 billion gallons of groundwater still need to be treated,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “We need to make sure that the site is cleaned up. The people of Toms River have been suffering from the contamination coming from the Ciba-Geigy superfund site for too long, they deserve a full cleanup. It is too important for the health and safety of the community.”