HACKENSACK, N.J. — Two North Jersey congressmen are hoping the federal government will take quick action in determining if the Hackensack River should be declared a Superfund site.
Following reports of elevated pollution levels in the Hackensack River from recent sediment samples, Congressmen Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) and Bill Pascrell (NJ-9) sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urging swift action.
The move would be in collaboration with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to finalize the agency’s review of the site and determine if it should be added to the Superfund National Priorities List. Such a determination is critical for developing a cleanup plan and holding contaminators responsible, according to a press release.
High levels of pollutants, including potentially cancer-causing fluoranthene, were found in sediment at several spots along the Hackensack River near industrial sites. This contamination poses a risk not only to local marine and wildlife but to the families who live and visit the area, the press release says.
"The Hackensack River is in desperate need of attention and plays a key role to our local economy and ecosystem," the Congressmen wrote in the letter.
"That is why we remain deeply concerned about the potential impact of the EPA’s federal hiring freeze on environmental projects like the Hackensack River that are in urgent need of attention.
"We urge the EPA to dedicate resources to expedite the review of the river and determine the best plan to protect the health and safety of our constituents and recover this important river. Thank you for your attention to this matter, and we look forward to working with you to protect the health and safety of our constituents."