Source: http://www.northjersey.com, July 29, 2013
By: Scott Fallon
After a month’s delay, preliminary work to remove dioxin-laden mud from the banks of the Passaic River next to a popular county park is scheduled to begin Tuesday, according to the companies funding the $20 million project.
The delay came when workers were unable to open the Bridge Street Bridge in Newark, preventing barges from hauling mud to a processing facility down river.
While the bridge is still not fixed, workers will be able to open it manually once a day starting early Tuesday. Barges will be able to bring equipment to the site about nine miles north of the bridge where the highest levels of dioxin ever recorded at the river’s surface sit just feet away from Riverside County Park.
About 20,000 cubic yards of contaminated mud will be scooped out of the river and eventually hauled out. But the bridge must be fixed first. The companies are still waiting for new motors to be delivered and installed on the busy bridge, which was damaged during Superstorm Sandy. It connects Newark to Harrison and is owned by Essex and Hudson counties.
“The first barge containing dredged material would be transported back downriver after the bridge is repaired,” said Jonathan Jaffe, a spokesman for Cooperating Parties Group, a collection of about 70 companies that either polluted the river or inherited the liability of past polluters and are paying for the cleanup.
The Bridge Street Bridge is one of 11 mostly low-lying bridges along the Passaic that the barges will have to travel under.
The companies had hoped to finish work by the Head of the Passaic Regatta, a major crew competition on Oct. 12 that has drawn more than 1,000 rowers in the past. With work scheduled to go beyond that date, contractors will stop work and secure all of their equipment before the race.
Despite a history of pollution that dates to the late 18th century, the Passaic is popular among competitive rowers because of its calm current and lack of commercial boating.