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10 examples of why the Superfund program matters

By: Bryan Nelson on Oct. 12, 2017, 11:20 a.m.
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Lipari Landfill, New Jersey

Often referred to as one of the worst toxic dump sites in U.S. history, Lipari Landfill in New Jersey was given the third highest overall hazard score ever bestowed by the EPA. Though it was only about 6 acres in size, it was the dumping ground for about 46,000 barrels of chemicals and 2,000 tons of solid industrial waste from 1958 to 1971. The landfill was not properly lined, so it didn't take long for the hazardous materials to seep into the groundwater. Fruit orchards are also nearby.

Local lakes were closed to the public, though many people may have continued to swim and fish. A 1989 study revealed area residents were at greater risk of adult leukemia and of having babies with low birth weight.

The cleanup project is massive and is ongoing. By 1995, more than $100 million had already been spent on the efforts, which included removing a great deal of the contaminated soil to a properly lined landfill. The polluted Alcyon Lake was drained and had its sediment removed and replaced. It was reopened for recreation in October 1995; this photo shows it in 2005.

Remediation continues at the landfill, which today mostly involves the removal of vast quantities of volatile organic compounds.