The Sustainable Remedy is a comprehensive approach that addresses the entire 17 miles of the Lower Passaic from Dundee Dam to Newark Bay.
It consists of two intertwined initiatives:
1) Targeted removal of sediment in about 25 areas in the Lower Passaic River where high levels of contaminants have been identified.
2) Watershed restoration projects that would address the pollution that continues to enter the river every day.
Summary of targeted dredging approach
Removal of the most highly contaminated sediment would be completed in about five years and would be followed by a review of actual results to see if more work is needed.
Targeted dredging would reduce risk from surface sediment by about 80 percent in about 5 years. This approach, known as Adaptive Management, is the same technique used on other River remediation projects throughout the country under EPA supervision.
Adaptive management is a structured, iterative process that facilitates responsible decision-making in the face of uncertainty. Here it would result in quick action to remove the highest levels of surface contamination and measure the results against a previously developed set of risk reduction goals.
If initial goals of the remediation are not being met, EPA would have the ability to require more work.
Addressing dioxin contamination in sediment caused primarily by the former Diamond Shamrock plant in Newark is only part of the solution.
Real progress in healing the Lower Passaic cannot be made unless other ongoing sources of pollution are addressed at the same time. That's why watershed restoration is integral to the Sustainable Remedy. Watershed restoration projects would improve River ecology, reduce ongoing pollution from urban runoff, enhance usability and create jobs. These projects could include parks, wetlands restoration and storm water reduction initiatives.
In addition, since the primary human health risk posed by contaminated sediment is through fish consumption, the Sustainable Remedy would include fisheries restoration. This program would remove invasive species that drive this risk, such as carp, and replace them with more desirable native species like striped bass that are less affected by any sediment contamination that would remain after implementation of any of the sediment cleanup programs being considered.
Get more information on watershed restoration project criteria as well as descriptions of projects that already have been completed or are planned as part the Sustainable Remedy.
Sustainable Remedy in Line with EPA Guidance
The Sustainable Remedy is consistent with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidance that encourages an Adaptive Management approach when dealing with complex river systems. The Sustainable Remedy is also consistent with the EPA's national policy for remediation of contaminated sediment/waterway sites. For more information on EPA's view on the remediation of contaminated sediments, visit:
- Contaminated Sediment Management Strategy
- Contaminated Sediment Remediation Guidance for Hazardous Waste Sites (2005)
Click the videos below to learn about the CPG's fish exchange program in partnership with Rutgers University.