EPA Places Orange Valley Regional Ground Water Site on Border of West Orange/Orange on Superfund National Priorities List
Wednesday, September 19, 2012 • 1:45pm
WEST ORANGE, NJ - On Friday, September 14, 2012, the United States Environmental Protection Agency added the Orange Valley Regional Ground Water Site in Orange and West Orange to its Superfund National Priorities List of the country's most hazardous waste sites. Tetracholoroethylene, trichloroethylene, and cis-1,2-dichloroethylene have been found in the ground water used to supply the Orange Park and Gist Place wells, which provide water to a combined Orange/West Orange population of 10,000.
"Ensuring that people have a safe source of drinking water is essential to protecting public health and is an EPA priority. By placing the Orange Valley Ground Water Site on the Superfund list, the EPA can do the extensive sampling needed to find the best ways to address the contamination and protect people's health," said Judith A. Enck, EPA Regional Administrator.
Contamination of the wells was discovered in the early 1980's and the Orange Water Department at that time installed a treatment system on the wells to remove any contaminants. The water is regularly monitored to ensure effective operation and public safety. Another well, the Brook Lane public supply well, was closed to protect the public from potential contamination.
West Orange Municipal Engineer Leonard Lepore said that a parcel of land on Central Avenue on the Orange/West Orange border appears to be one of the contaminant sources. It is unclear what businesses that have been housed on that property could have caused the contamination. Remediation could include soil extraction, and removal of chemicals from the underground water table. He continued to say that one or two streets in West Orange received their water supply from Orange Valley Regional Ground Water, and that 99.9% of West Orange residents received their water from New Jersey American Water, with water sources outside the area.
The water plume, or polluted water found within the aquifer, is consistent with chemicals used in dry cleaning but it is not clear if those chemicals were used in other types of businesses as well.
The cost for remediation is handled by the EPA, and not local taxpayers, though the EPA does seek to identify the responsible businesses and establish their responsibility.