Warren County: Discoveries and Progress
By 1993, there were about 13 feet of water trapped in the landfill. The Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources proposed a $200,000 project to install a new water pump to relieve water pressure on the landfill liner. In 1994, the state Division of Solid Waste Management tested the landfill for the first time since its construction and found trace amounts of dioxins in monitoring wells uphill and downhill from the landfill.
Warren County residents demanded a full cleanup of the site. In 1997, an independent advisor to the Joint Warren County/State PCB Working Group said there was evidence that the landfill was leaking and contaminating air and soil. Despite the evidence of dangerous chemicals in the community, the EPA and the state maintained that the site was safe.
In response to demands from Warren County residents, Governor Hunt included $15 million in the state budget in 1998 to clean up the Warren County landfill. PCB removal began in 2002, and at the end of 2003, the PCB landfill closed after $18 million in cleanup efforts. The soil from the site was decontaminated to 10 times cleaner than federal standards.
“Now that the PCB dump is cleaned up, that was one site looked at to revitalize and use . . . . And I saw the potential of that.
“We could turn around something that’s negative and make it a positive and show others that just by working together and having a vision and being consistent and sacrificing, we can move mountains.”
[Photo source: Warren Family Institute, Inc.]