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Ringwood Mines Superfund Site Proposed for Restoration to the National Priorities List

Release Date: 04/18/2006
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(New York, NY) The Ringwood Mines/Landfill Superfund site was today proposed for restoration to the National Priorities List (NPL) of the most contaminated waste sites. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made the proposal to restore the site because contaminated material has been discovered since the site was taken off the NPL. In 2004, EPA determined that significant amounts of paint sludge remained on the site and it directed the Ford Motor Company to clean it up. Ford has sampled ground water, surface water and sediment, and removed over 14,800 tons of waste. The Agency has continued to direct and oversee cleanup activities at and around the site.

“After visiting the Ringwood Mines community and meeting a number of times with members of the Ringwood community, I made a commitment to pursue restoration of the site to the Superfund list,” said Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg. “Today marks a real milestone. By proposing the relisting of the Ringwood Mines on the National Priorities List, George W. Bush and EPA Administrator Steve Johnson have demonstrated their unflagging commitment to environmental protection and the health and well-being of the residents of Ringwood.”

The approximately 455-acre site operated as an iron mine from the 1700's through the 1930's. In 1965, a subsidiary of Ford purchased property in Ringwood, which is now part of the site. From 1967 through 1971, Ford’s waste hauler disposed of waste materials at the site from its Mahwah automobile assembly plant, including paint sludge and waste contained in drums.

In 1982, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) sampled both ground water and water present on the surface at the site, and found VOCs, lead and arsenic. After evaluating information provided by the NJDEP, EPA added the site to the NPL in September 1983.

From 1984 through 1987, Ford performed a study at the site to determine the nature and extent of contamination. This study was performed with EPA oversight, and identified various paint sludge disposal areas. Sampling results of the paint sludge showed that the sludge contained lead, arsenic, chromium, naphthalene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene, trichloroethene and low levels of PCBs. The study also found that while ground water contained arsenic, lead and thallium above safe drinking water levels, the public water supply was not impacted. In 1987, EPA ordered Ford to remove the paint sludge, and the company removed approximately 7,000 cubic yards of sludge and related soil from the site.

EPA selected a long-term cleanup plan for the site in September 1988. Since known areas of paint sludge had been removed and contaminants from the site were not entering the public water supply, EPA selected a cleanup plan consisting of long-term environmental monitoring. With EPA oversight, Ford initiated the long-term ground water monitoring program in 1989. In 1994, EPA, with NJDEP concurrence, deleted the site from the NPL. The ground water sampling program at the site continued until 2000, when ground water sampling from all but one of the monitoring wells showed no contaminants above health-based levels. However, EPA has directed Ford to return to the site several times since its deletion from the NPL to remove additional paint sludge and drums. Ford’s contractor is currently working at the site. Restoring the site to the NPL makes the affected community eligible to apply for a Technical Assistance Grant, which they can use to help them better evaluate the various aspects of the cleanup.

For additional information about the Ringwood Mines/Landfill Superfund site, please visit the EPA Web site at