+lostinjersey Posted December 21, 2004 Share Posted December 21, 2004 from the bergen record, following several weeks of artivcles about complaints by the RMP and others about paint iand sludge in their backyards... figured yaw'lld wanna know. also I'm wondering if any micros are in the affected area... ********************************************** The state moved Friday to close a Ringwood State Park hiking trail where recent soil and water samples show dangerous amounts of toxins, 10 years after the Ford Motor Co. supposedly cleaned out industrial waste it had dumped in the former mining area. "We will likely be posting trail closure signs in the coming days," said Bradley M. Campbell, the head of the state Department of Environmental Protection. Based on the latest testing of property declared clean by the federal Environmental Protection Agency in 1994, he said, "It is now very clear that Ford and the EPA missed a significant area of contamination during the first cleanup. As for how large that area is, we will find out." The trail is at the end of Peters Mine Road, near where about 500 members of the Ramapough Mountain Indian community reside. For years, they have complained of ailments they believe are caused by toxins. Those ailments include abnormally high cancer rates, skin rashes, asthma and neurological problems among their children. Government investigations are under way into both the health problems and the extent of remaining pollution, but no formal link has been established between the two. Much of the leftover waste lies outside the park. But the latest investigation found toxins a quarter of a mile into a part of the parkland that the state acquired after Ford dumped the material there between 1967 and 1974. A set of soil and water samples taken in the state park by a non-profit group, Edison Wetlands Associates, and released Thursday found lead readings nearly 100 times greater than levels considered safe. Arsenic readings were also well above safe levels, and a trace of cancer-causing PCBs was found in the bank of a stream that feeds into the Wanaque Reservoir about a mile away. Campbell spoke with staff at the Wanaque Reservoir on Friday and was assured that the water quality faced no immediate threat. In the past, trace amounts of PCBs have shown up in stream samples by staff of the reservoir, which supplies drinking water to 2 million people. Those levels have not been considered dangerous. However, officials are concerned that unless the site is clean, toxins could eventually migrate downstream and foul the water. Ford, already facing EPA mandates for a renewed cleanup, has said that it would comply with all government edicts. Campbell said that he would "order" the company to undertake another cleanup if that proved necessary. "Currently, we are looking to see whether we will need to take direct action," Campbell said. The hiking trail was deserted Friday afternoon, except for two patrolling rangers from the state Division of Parks and Forestry. No signs were yet posted to keep out or advising residents that there was any danger. Residents who live near the entrance to the park say the trail hasn't been used much, probably because Peters Mine Road is fairly desolate. People live in old houses and close to the land - with chickens and stray dogs running about freely. Junk is strewn about inside the park - old furniture, beer bottles and other items. One resident of Peters Mine Road who would identify himself only as Jack recalled the days in the late 1960s when Ford dumped tons of paint in the field just across the street from his house. That field is overgrown with brush, but Jack wondered just how much toxin remains in the soil. "There were days when they were dumping so much paint that you couldn't breathe," he said. "People complained, but nothing was done about it." Jack is 45 years old and says he has had three strokes. He said his sister, who grew up on Peters Mine Road, died of cancer when she was 14. Now his grandson lives in the house with him, and the boy, he said, has asthma and a constant rash. Quote Link to comment
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