Flooding Brings “A Witches Brew,” Environmental Group Warns

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STATE — The New Jersey Sierra Club warns Garden State residents to be cautious about contaminents that may be present in flood waters from Hurricane Sandy.

“As people are trying to recover from the aftermath of this terrible storm they need to be careful because of what is in the flood waters can harm you,” said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.

Tittel detailed a litany of contaminated sites impacted by flood waters:

  • The Laurence Harbor sea wall, which is a made out of lead, has been washed away, putting a dangerous amount of lead out into the environment
  • Flooding in Jersey City is introducing chromium pollution into waterways.
  • The Newark Diamond Alkali site containing dioxin is right off the banks of the Passaic River, which could be affected.
  • There is raw sewage being pumped in Hoboken from overflowing sewers.
  • A concern is the lagoons of toxic waste at the American Cyanamid chemical plant in Bridgewater may be surrounded by flood waters.
  • Places in Bergen County like Little Ferry, Lodi, and Moonachie are flooding all which contain toxic sites.

“Every time we have a major storm we end up with a witches brew in our waterways. Everything from raw sewage to toxic chemicals to oil tanks to household cleaning products end up in our flood waters possibly in our homes and basements. People need to be careful when they go out in the floodwaters because what is in them can hurt you, “said Tittel.

The New Jersey Sierra Club has been trying for years to get the DEP to prohibit storage of toxic chemicals in flood prone areas. Toxic sites in these areas cannot be capped; they need to be cleaned up, the organization believes. Any storage of hazardous materials should be above the 100 year storm level.

“We have seen too many floods in the last couple of years impacting important infrastructure and causing pollution to enter our waterways. New Jersey needs to do better job protecting these areas from flooding but also removing toxic pollution from areas that constantly flood,” said Tittel. “Every time is rains it pours all this toxic mess into our waterways.”


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