In the News

The federal government is providing more than $70 million to clean up a Superfund site in West Deptford.

Superfund sites are highly contaminated areas that contain harmful toxins from decades of industrial use or waste dumping. New Jersey has among the most of these in the country.

The Environmental Protection Agency is distributing $1 billion to clean up 22 Superfund sites nationwide. Three of them are in New Jersey, including the 80-acre Matteo & Sons property in West Deptford. It used to be a lead battery recycling facility and waste dump.

“Those activities contaminated soil in the land, sediment in nearby waterways and the groundwater that’s always running beneath our feet,” said New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn LaTourette.

He says federal agencies are spending an estimated $72.2 million to clean up the site, and that work is extremely costly, from investigation to remediation.

“You need to do lots of sampling that goes into the soil deep underground and see how far the contamination has spread,” he explained.

According to LaTourette, the same must be done with sediment and groundwater. After that, they must remove all the contaminated particles to remediate and dispose at special locations designed to take that harmful material.

The funds are made possible through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, according to Rep. Donald Norcross. “West Deptford families and [the] business community don’t want to live and work near contaminated Superfund sites. It’s bad for our health and it’s bad for business,” he said.

The other two sites — Cornell-Dubilier Electronics Inc. in South Plainfield and the Mansfield Trail Dump in Byram Township — are also getting part of the $1 billion. The EPA will oversee the cleanup. LaTourette says these sites have long been on his target list and he can’t wait for the work to begin.