Updated on Aug. 12 to include Deputy Mayor John Cosgrove's comment.
FAIR LAWN, NJ – Fair Lawn can look forward to $19.5 million in federal monies for the Fair Lawn Well Field Superfund site located in Fair Lawn Industrial Park off Route 208 West, according to Mayor Kurt Peluso. The site has been pinpointed as the main source of groundwater contamination for almost half of its water wells.
"We're excited about this development," Peluso said this morning. "Our engineer is putting together recommendations and the public meeting on Aug. 23 should inform the public fully on what's going on."
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will hold a public meeting on Aug. 23 to explain the cleanup proposal and other options considered, and to take public comments. The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Fair Lawn Borough Hall, 8-01 Fair Lawn Avenue. Comments will be accepted until September 5, 2018.
"The quality of our water is very important to the governing body," he said. "This is a very positive step in bringing back the wells that are off-line."
In fact, Deputy Mayor John Cosgrove said he began working with the EPA in 2013 when he was mayor.
"This has been a long time coming," Cosgrove said. "This didn't just happen overnight."
Peluso said seven of the 16 operating wells in the borough are currently off-line.
"I want to stress that our drinking water has been tested and meets all the proper standards, even the more current stringent ones," he said.
Previous industrial and commercial activities at the site contaminated the soil and groundwater with chlorinated volatile organic compounds. The (EPA) announced the cleanup plan yesterday, Aug. 6, in which it proposes to expand and enhance the system that extracts and treats the contaminated groundwater at the site.
“The systems we already have in place are functioning well, but we need to upgrade the treatment system to maximize the removal of groundwater contaminants,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “EPA has worked closely with the State of New Jersey on this cleanup, and we will continue that partnership to ensure that we effectively treat the groundwater contamination and protect people’s health.”
Most of the contamination at the Superfund site comes from the Fair Lawn Industrial Park, which contaminated the groundwater and some municipal wells with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including 1,4 dioxane. The impacted municipal supply wells are currently being treated to remove contaminants. The Westmoreland Well Field treatment system will be upgraded to address 1,4 dioxane. To ensure that the public is provided with a clean, secure drinking water supply, Fair Lawn is relying on other sources of water until the proposed cleanup plan can be implemented.
Previous cleanup actions by the potentially responsible parties included investigation of soil and groundwater, removal and disposal of contaminated soil, long-term monitoring of groundwater quality, and payment to the Borough of Fair Lawn for the installation, operation, and maintenance of the groundwater treatment system at the Westmoreland Well Field.
Currently, groundwater treatment is ongoing and preventing the contaminated groundwater from spreading, while efforts by the State of New Jersey are addressing the sources of contamination. EPA’s cleanup plan calls for expanding and enhancing three existing pump and treat systems, upgrade of the groundwater treatment equipment at the Westmoreland Well Field to remove the contaminant 1,4 dioxane, and, if possible, restarting two other municipal wells at the Westmoreland Well Field to further control the contamination plume. EPA’s plan includes long-term monitoring and measures to restrict the use of contaminated groundwater from the site. Throughout the cleanup, monitoring, testing, and further studies will be conducted to ensure the effectiveness of the cleanup.
To read EPA’s proposed plan, visit: www.epa.gov/superfund/fair-lawn-wellfield
On the one-year anniversary of the EPA’s Superfund Task Force Report, EPA announced significant progress in carrying out the report’s recommendations. These achievements will provide certainty to communities, state partners, and developers that the nation’s most hazardous sites will be cleaned up as quickly and safely as possible.
EPA’s new “Superfund Task Force Recommendations 2018 Update” is available at: https://www.epa.gov/superfund/superfund-task-force-recommendations-2018-update