New Sandy Fear: 45 Superfund Sites Were in Storm's Path

Storm surge could have stirred up a lot of toxic waste
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Nov 12, 2012 7:14 AM CST
A mini-golf course on the boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ, shown here on Nov. 1, 2012, was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.   (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

(Newser) – Add toxic waste to the litany of Sandy cleanup concerns. Some 45 Superfund sites in New York and New Jersey were within a half-mile of areas vulnerable to storm surge, the Wall Street Journal reports. And the EPA says that at least a few such sites—seen as America's most dangerous toxic waste hotspots—"were impacted by the storm." Among them: a lead-tainted site near Sayreville, NJ, and two locations in Brooklyn. New York state officials think that the floodwaters washed over the sites without rustling up low-lying chemicals.

The EPA, for its part, says tests thus far reveal just "low levels" of cancer-linked pollutants around Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn. As for New Jersey, "Superfund sites were not inundated by tidal surges," says an official. But other experts say more thorough testing is needed. "There really has to be a careful evaluation of whether there has been any disturbing of the waste," says a former New Jersey EPA official. Meanwhile, there are plenty of other pollution risks to address, including multiple fuel spills in New Jersey and damage to water treatment plants resulting in untreated sewage entering waterways. The Journal has more. (Read more Hurricane Sandy stories.)

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