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Feds Halt Ford Cleanup - Waste Too Toxic For Dump To Accept

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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 12:20 PM
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Feds Halt Ford Cleanup - Waste Too Toxic For Dump To Accept
RINGWOOD - The cleanup of Ford's industrial dump has been halted for several weeks because some newly discovered waste is so poisonous that a Michigan toxic-waste dump cannot accept it. That announcement by federal cleanup overseers on Tuesday left residents and borough officials angry that they were just hearing about highly noxious paint sludge uncovered in July. They said the lack of earlier notification may have resulted in unnecessary exposure to evaporating solvents contained in the sludge.

"The odor was so bad it alerted the workers, but the residents who live right there weren't told about it for two months," said Wayne Mann, head of the neighborhood association. "What else aren't we being told about?" The sludge was found at the end of Peters Mine Road during ongoing excavation work. It is softer and more spongy than the 3,500 tons that Ford has already removed from Ringwood State Park. The waste represents only a fraction of what Ford dumped in the late 1960s and early 1970s over the 500-acre site in the mountainous former mining area.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency declared the site, high above the Wanaque Reservoir, clean in 1994. But Ford has renewed extensive excavations under EPA direction after resident complaints, subsequent pressure from members of Congress and an ongoing investigation by The Record that has found widespread leftover waste. The spongy sludge, containing arsenic, lead, PCBs, and solvents, was discovered in a seep - water emanating from the ground - that feeds a stream flowing into the reservoir. Also nearby is a 500-resident community, most of them Ramapough Mountain Indians.


Volatile compounds dissipate into the air when exposed, sending out potent chemical molecules that can cause illnesses and in extreme cases, death. Ethylbenzene was found at 5,270 parts per million and toluene was at 5,690. The safety cleanup level for both is 1,000. Xylene had levels that hit 22,700 when the safety level is 400. All three can cause headaches and dizziness. Toluene may cause nausea, memory loss and affect the nervous system. Ethylbenzene can irritate the eyes and chest. Xylene may do serious damage to the liver and kidneys.


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