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Garfield Residents Worry After EPA Says It Can’t Afford To Clean Polluted Site

FILE -- Outside E.C. Electroplating Plant in Garfield, N.J. (credit: Levon Putney/WCBS 880)

FILE — Outside E.C. Electroplating Plant in Garfield, N.J. (credit: Levon Putney/WCBS 880)

GARFIELD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Residents in Garfield are living in fear after the federal government said it doesn’t have the money to clean up land contaminated by cancer-causing chromium.

As WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reported, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which has already removed thousands of tons of contaminated soil from the site, says it has run out money needed to treat an underground plume that has seeped into the basements of nearby houses and businesses. The final cleanup would costs tens of millions of dollars, an EPA official told a congressional panel Tuesday.

The pollution started in 1983 when more than 3 tons of chromium spilled at E.C. Electroplating, which is now closed.

Garfield Residents Worry After EPA Says It Can't Afford To Clean Polluted Site

superfund Garfield Residents Worry After EPA Says It Cant Afford To Clean Polluted Site
Levon Putney reports

Susana Lopez, the owner of Susana’s Daycare in the neighborhood, said her business has passed a chromium check. But she is still concerned.

“My mind is worried for my babies here,” Lopez told Putney.”

Colleen Coldario’s home is right across the street from the site of the former factory.

“It’s bologna,” Coldario said of the EPA’s funding woes.

“And we’re paying taxes, and we can’t sell houses. The property value is down.”

City Manager Tom Dutch said the value of the properties has been reduced 10 to 20 percent by the city. He said, however, that might not be enough, noting that the only houses really selling in the affected area are those with letters from the EPA saying the property is clean.

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