Payne, Menendez, Booker Applaud Addition of Newark Contaminated Site to EPA Superfund List

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10) U.S. Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker (both D-NJ) today praised the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for adding the Pierson’s Creek site in Newark to its Superfund list of most hazardous waste sites.  New Jersey now has 115 Superfund sites on the National Priorities List, tops in the nation. 

“I am so pleased that the EPA is taking action to designate Pierson’s Creek as a Superfund site,” said Rep. Payne, Jr.  “This designation will ensure that the proper precautions are taken to clean up the toxic chemicals and pollution that are harming our environment and posing an enormous health risk to the people and families that live in and around Newark Bay.  I look forward to working with the EPA and fellow leaders to make this a successful and productive effort.” 

 “The Superfund program is critical for the Garden State and I am pleased to see the EPA is acting aggressively to protect New Jersey communities,” said Sen. Menendez.  “The designation will ensure that this contaminated site is properly cleaned up and that the health and well-being of New Jersey residents are protected.”

“It is an unfortunate fact that New Jersey is home to more Superfund sites than any other state in the nation,” said Sen. Booker. “The Superfund program is essential to rehabilitating dangerous sites and encouraging economic development.  It is my hope that with its inclusion on the National Priorities List, Pierson’s Creek will receive the resources needed to clean up the site and create a healthier environment for Newark’s residents and economy.”

Between 1956 and 1965, Troy Chemical, manufacturer of antimicrobial and antifungal paint additives, was found to have pumped 7,000 gallons per week of untreated mercury-containing wastewater into Pierson’s Creek, which feeds into Newark Bay.  Environmental tests revealed sediment in Pierson’s Creek contained as much as 60% mercury by weight.

According to the EPA, exposure to even small amounts of highly-toxic mercury can damage the nervous system, brain, heart, kidneys, lungs and immune system.  Children and pregnant women are considered especially vulnerable. 

The Superfund program is the federal government’s commitment to clean up the nation’s uncontrolled hazardous waste sites and hold the responsible parties accountable.  It allows the EPA to force polluters to clean up the site and protects taxpayers by seeking reimbursement for cleanups performed by the EPA.