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NJ Ringwood Superfund cleanup plan finalized


The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized its plan to address contamination in three areas of the Ringwood Mines/Landfill Superfund site in Ringwood, New Jersey, where highly-contaminated paint sludge from the Ford Motor Company was disposed of during the late 1960s.

The Ringwood-area pollution continued into the early 1970s, leaving lead, arsenic, chromium and other contaminants to sit in the paint sludge. To date, the cleanup of the Ringwood site has been conducted and paid for by Ford and the Borough of Ringwood, with oversight by the EPA. The cost of the cleanup plan for the three areas is currently estimated to be $46.7 million. 

Contamination will be addressed at:

  • Peter’s Mine Pit – Some 22,000 tons of contaminated soil and other material will be removed from around the opening of the mine pit and the pit will be capped.
  • Cannon Mine Pit – the mine pit will be capped. 
  • O’Connor Disposal Area – Some 106, 400 tons of contaminated soil will be excavated, with a contingency to consolidate and cap wastes if the Borough of Ringwood moves forward with its plan to build a recycling center on this area of the site.

The 500-acre Ringwood Mines/Landfill site is in a historic iron mining district in the Borough of Ringwood, New Jersey. The site, which is in a forested area with about 50 private homes, includes abandoned mine shafts and pits, an inactive landfill and other disposal areas. The site was originally added to the Superfund list of hazardous waste sites in 1983. It was removed from the Superfund list in 1994 based on a finding that all appropriate cleanup actions had been taken. In 1995, 1998 and 2004, additional areas of paint sludge were discovered at the site, prompting further cleanup actions. The EPA restored the site to the Superfund list in 2006 due to the discovery of additional contaminated materials.

The actions in the plan build on cleanup work performed at the Ringwood Mines Superfund site over many years. Between 1984 and 1988, Ford, with EPA oversight, conducted an investigation of the nature and extent of contamination at the site. Ford excavated and disposed of the paint sludge found and monitored ground water and surface water on a long-term basis. In 1987-1988, 7,700 cubic yards of paint sludge and soil were removed from the site and approximately 600 cubic yards of paint sludge and 54 intact and crushed drums were removed in 1990. Since December 2004, approximately 53,528 tons of additional paint sludge, drum remnants and associated soil from the Peter’s Mine Pit Area, the O’Connor Disposal Area and 15 additional disposal areas within the site were removed and disposed of properly.

In 2011, the EPA began testing for lead on residential properties and dioxin in people’s homes. Wherever lead or dioxin has been found to exceed protective levels, the EPA has cleaned it up. More than 2,400 tons of soil has been removed from people’s yards. 

To view the EPA’s record of decision for the Ringwood Mines/Landfill Superfund site, please click here.


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