RINGWOOD - Over 100 Ringwood residents attended a meeting alongside the state Department of Environmental Protection to voice their concerns over the former Ford Superfund site.
More than 50 years ago, the Ford company dumped toxic paints and chemicals at the site. Earlier this year, tests showed that there were elevated levels of the chemical dioxane, a known carcinogen, in the ground.
Instead of digging up and removing the contaminated soil, Ford agreed to cap the site because it cost less money.
“We are monitoring [the site] very closely. We don’t see [contamination] in any drinking water sources or any drinking water people are consuming,” says NJDEP Ringwood Superfund site project manager Ken Patrone.
But some residents and environmental advocates are not happy with the decision.
“The DEP has looked the other way for 30 years, and the EPA has mismanaged the site,” says Jeff Tittle with the environmental group New Jersey Sierra Club. “The people up here have a living hell.”
Tittle says that officials should either clear up the site or “buy out” the residents.
Ramapo College professor Dr. Michael Edelstein asked officials at the meeting to connect a “justice analysis,” which would look at how the residents’ lives have been affected living near the site.
Many of the people who live near the site belong to the Ramapough Lenape Native American Nation. They've complained about high cancer rates and other sicknesses affecting their community now for several generations.