KEARNY, N.J. (AP) — The federal government has approved a plan to clean up a contaminated site in New Jersey's Meadowlands dubbed "Oil Lake."
The site in Kearny contains tons of polluted soil from the now-closed Diamond Head Oil Refinery. The $24 million plan approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday calls for taking out thousands of truckloads of the tainted soil, The Record reported .
The pollution dates back to at least 1946, when the plant began recycling waste oil, which it did until 1979. Plant workers regularly dumped oil in wetlands, creating an oil lake, according to the EPA.
Toxic agents, such as PCBs, dioxin and harmful organic compounds, now saturate the area. The contaminants pose an unacceptable risk to the environment, according to an EPA health risk assessment.
Contaminated soil at the site will be removed in two phases. First, excavated soil from the oil lake will be transported to an offsite location for disposal. Officials will remove contaminated soil in the surrounding wetland areas in the second phase.
Officials plan to target polluted groundwater in a future cleanup, according to the EPA.
"Removing contaminated soil and sediment from this site will remove a threat to this community," said acting EPA regional administrator Catherine McCabe. "We will continue our work at this site until it no longer poses a potential long-term risk to the public."
It's unclear who will pay for the environmental cleanup. Several parties have been identified as potentially liable for the pollution, according to EPA documents.
The plant was dismantled more than two decades ago.
Information from: The Record (Woodland Park, N.J.), http://www.northjersey.com