Neighbors object to EPA proposals to pave over toxic site in Ringwood

A plan for dealing with a North Jersey Superfund site is being met with criticism from neighbors who want it cleaned up, not covered up. (7/1/14)

RINGWOOD - A plan for dealing with a North Jersey Superfund site is being met with criticism from neighbors who want it cleaned up, not covered up.

For nearly his entire life, Roger DeGroat has lived down the road from the contaminated site in Ringwood. Officials have known the soil was laced with lead and other toxins for decades, but so far nothing has been done.

"They don't care about the community, the people who live in this area," DeGroat says.

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The EPA has announced a plan that involves removing and capping the toxic soil in two areas. In the third area, the agency is giving Ringwood the option of paving over the land, but not removing the toxic dirt underneath so a recycling center could be built.

"I am very concerned about my health and the health of my family," says Vivian Milligan. "I've watched too many of my family members with cancer die."

The contamination can be traced to a Ford Motor Company plant that stood in nearby Mahwah. Between 1955 and 1980, contractors for the company were dumping paint and other toxic chemicals on the Ringwood site. 

The EPA is giving Ringwood six months to present a plan for building the new recycling center. Neighbors hope town officials use that time to consider their plight, and decide to completely clean up the area once and for all. 

Ringwood's town manager declined News 12 New Jersey's request for an on-camera interview, saying he had not yet read the EPA's full report.

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