Remedial Action

  • Current Remedial Action:

    The Ringwood Mines/Landfill Superfund Site has been designated “Human Exposure Under Control” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  The three remaining disposal areas at the site have been fenced to restrict access to any remaining waste in these areas which total less than 30 acres. Currently, 42 private homes, a municipal recycling center, the Ringwood Borough garage, and a state park with rugged forest and open vegetated areas are located on the site. All known paint sludge deposits located outside of these areas have been excavated and disposed of off-site; and all known lead-contaminated soil located on residential properties at the site has been addressed. Investigation and cleanup activities continue on the property.

    In June of 2014, the EPA issued the Record of Decision setting forth a capping remedy for Peter’s Mine Pit and Cannon Mine Pit and a preferred full excavation remedy for O’Connor Disposal Area but subsequently amended the ROD by the April 2015 Explanation of Significant Difference in which EPA selected the proposal by Ringwood Borough and Ford Motor Company for the consolidation/capping remedy for O’Connor Disposal Area.

    The Borough of Ringwood’s decision process in the selection of a remedy for the Peters Mine Pit Area, Cannon Mine Pit Area and O’Connor Disposal Area was based on several key considerations:

    • Protection of human health, the environment, community and existing infrastructure;

    • Technically justified and appropriate for the documented risks of the contaminants;

    • Least disruptive/disturbance to the community and its residents;

    • Can be implemented in a timely and cost-efficient manner.

    In 2013, the EPA put forth a significantly costly plan to the National Remedy Review Board for full excavation of the O’Connor site and a capping remedy of Peter’s and Cannon Mines. The details of that proposed plan and responses are available on the “links” section of this website and the EPA hosted website:

    In reviewing that proposal, it was determined that the EPA’s plan could pose a strong risk to taxpayers, since Ringwood Borough was a potentially responsible party under Superfund.  While the Borough of Ringwood maintained insurance to cover some of the costs of addressing the remedy, the taxpayers were at risk if the Insurers denied the Borough’s claim to pay for full excavation at the O’Connor site. Therefore, the Borough sought to support a plan that would be fully protective of human health and the environment (as determined by both EPA and NJDEP), while being fiscally responsible of the potential grave financial risks to its taxpayers.

    • In September 2013, the Borough of Ringwood and the Ford Motor Company supported a plan to consolidate 166,000 tons of contaminated soil and place a long-term, Engineered Cap with Institutional Controls on the O’Connor site to permanently contain and seal the material. The property also would be further protected by the construction of the Borough’s new recycling center – with a redesigned and formal structure constructed on top of the capped O’Connor site.

    • The Borough and Ford will share the $5.4 million cost to construct the cap and containment structure at the O’Connor site (with Ford paying for the construction of the new recycling center), at no cost to taxpayers.

    • In June of 2014, the EPA issued its Record of Decision (ROD) for the site which was amended by the Explanation of Significant Differences, issued in April 2015.

    • The long-term maintenance of the permeable, geotextile cap – as well as the caps proposed for the Peter’s Mine and Cannon Mine areas – will be paid for and managed by Ford Motor Company.

    Capping and How It Works

    An engineered soil cover – called a “cap” – will be placed over the residual contaminated material. Caps isolate contaminants, preventing contact with people or wildlife, and keep them in place to avoid the spread of contamination. The benefits of this Engineered Cap, which will include Institutional Controls to ensure the long-term management of the site, include:

    • Prevention of rain and snowmelt from seeping through the material and carrying contaminants to the groundwater

    • Prevention of storm water runoff from carrying contaminated material offsite or into lakes and streams

    • Prevention of any distribution of contaminated material offsite by wind

    • Will be readily implemented in a comparatively short time frame and will easily blend into the surrounding topography

    • Minimally invasive and minimally disruptive to the community

    • Ensures public health and protection of the environment

    Caps, which are commonly used at Superfund Sites, can safely keep contaminated material in place. The structure will continue to isolate contamination as long as it does not erode or develop cracks or holes that allow water to reach the contaminated material. Regular inspections are made to make sure that the weather, plant roots, and human activity have not damaged the cap and that plants on vegetative caps are still growing. Also, groundwater monitoring wells are placed around the capped area and sampled to help determine if leaks occur.  Click here for more information about capping.

    Specifics For Ringwood

    While the entire designated Superfund site is 500 acres, the section remaining to be remediated is contained to three areas – Peter’s Mine Pit (PMP), Cannon Mine Pit (CMP), and O’Connor Disposal Area (OCDA) – totaling less than 30 acres. The Engineered Caps for each of the Peters Mine Pit  Area, the Cannon Mine Pit  Area, and the O’Connor Disposal Area  will be constructed of 2 feet of certified clean soil that will be placed and compacted above a geotextile that serves as a demarcation layer which defines the base of the soil cap.

    • Each soil cap will have 18 inches of a certified fill “subsoil” that will be a mixture of sands, silts and clays;

    • Six inches of topsoil will be placed and compacted above the 18-inch subsoil layer to form the 2-foot thick soil cap;

    • In the CMP Area, the soil cap will be stabilized with vegetation.  Where the cap is in an upland area and not part of the restoration for a riparian zone of wetlands, it will be permanently vegetated with a seed mix;

    • In the PMP Area, the Engineered Soil Cap will be restored with indigenous vegetation consistent with the fact that it is on State parklands;

    • In the OCDA, the consolidation will result in full excavation of 4 acres of OCDA which will be restored to natural wetlands and a new Borough Recycling Center will be constructed above the 2-foot soil cap and the various surfaces that will be constructed as part of the Recycling Center (i.e. permeable asphalt, concrete, etc.) will serve as an additional layer above the remaining 5 acre Engineered Soil Cap. 

    • Given minimal landfill gas generation in all three sites, gas management is venting through the clean fill and final cover soil and through use of permeable pavement for the Recycling Center that will be constructed on top of the Engineered Soil Cap in the OCDA.  The OCDA design also includes perimeter landfill gas monitoring;

    • In addition, boulders will be used around the perimeter of the PMP Area cap to provide an access barrier for ATVs that might affect the Engineered Soil Cap and revegetated areas;

    • Groundwater and surface water monitoring will be conducted as part of the land AC remedy, the scope of which is outlined in the OU-2 Remedial Design Report.