Superfund comes up short on cleanup of electro-plating factory site in Garfield

Officials say the funding needed to clean up a North Jersey Superfund site has run dry, and the news has residents fuming. (6/11/14)

GARFIELD - Officials say the funding needed to clean up a North Jersey Superfund site has run dry, and the news has residents fuming.

Colleen Calderio plants tomatoes in planters on the roof because she's afraid to plant them in the ground. Her house sits across the street from where an electro-plating factory once stood.  It was the site of a chromium spill in 1983.

Since then, the contamination has been seeping deeper and deeper into the ground and migrating as far away as neighboring Passaic, according to Garfield City Manager Tom Duch.

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The EPA demolished the factory last year and remediated the contamination directly underneath. However, federal authorities told Garfield city leaders Tuesday there was no more money available to clean up the groundwater under 600 homes.  

Duch says that could cost between $10 million and $20 million. 

Neighbors say that just isn't acceptable. "I feel like the government doesn't care about us," says Elias Solano. "They're going to let us stay here with chromium."

Long-time residents are worried about the effects of the cancer-causing toxin. "It's baloney," says Calderio. "It should have been fixed in 1985. They did not do it." 

With no long-term solution in sight, residents can't get market value for their homes and say they deserve a break on their property taxes.

NYU has been conducting a health study of residents within the contaminated area. They will present the findings to residents and town officials at a public meeting next week.

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