Site Overview

  • History:

    The 500-acre Ringwood Mines/Landfill site is located in the historic iron mining district within the Borough of Ringwood.

    The area is about a half-mile mile wide and 1.5 miles long. It consists of forested areas, open areas overgrown with vegetation, abandoned mine shafts and surface pits, an inactive landfill, an industrial refuse disposal area, small surficial dumps, the municipal recycling center, the Ringwood Borough garage, and about 42 private homes.

    From 1965 until 1974, Ringwood Realty, a subsidiary of the Ford Motor Company, owned the property. During this period, Ford Motor Company wastes, including car parts and paint sludges, were disposed of on the ground surface and in abandoned mine pits. Two abandoned mines, Peter’s Mine and Cannon Mine, had been used for the disposal of garbage and other wastes over the years. Peter’s Mine also contains paint sludges, solvents and scrap metal. Several drums have been observed in Cannon Mine.

    In 1970, Ringwood Realty donated 290 acres in the southern portion of the site to the Ringwood Solid Waste Management Authority. In 1973, Ringwood Realty donated 100+ acres of the site to the State of New Jersey, which has become part of the Ringwood State Park.  Former Mayor John Kulik stated in correspondence to Ford that “. . . the Ringwood council and myself have permitted the dumping of all the industrial waste from the Mahwah Ford assembly plant to be disposed of in this area known as the Ringwood Mines.” You can view the letter by clicking here.

    EPA placed the site on the Superfund Program’s National Priorities List in September 1983. After completing cleanup activities, EPA deleted the site from the NPL in 1994. From 1994 to 2001, the EPA directed Ford to complete three more clean-ups to the site and Ford continued to investigate and dispose of paint sludge up to and including when the site was re-listed on the NPL.

    The discovery of additional contamination at the site, prompted EPA to restore the site to the NPL in 2006.

    Since 2004, cleanup activities have included removal of additional landfilled paint sludge and contaminated soil from the site. In 2011, residential sampling identified elevated levels of lead in soil on some of the residential properties – subsequently EPA removed lead-contaminated soil from 23 residences at the site.

    Current Status:

    The Ringwood Mines/Landfill Superfund Site is considered “Human Exposure Under Control” by the EPA. The three remaining disposal areas at the site have been fenced to restrict access to any remaining waste in these areas. All known paint sludge deposits located outside of these areas have been excavated and disposed of off-site.  

    Since the discovery of additional paint sludge at the site, groundwater sampling events have been performed every year since 2006, which included the testing of all viable monitoring wells at the Site. Results of these sampling events indicate the sporadic presence of lead, arsenic and benzene at levels above drinking water standards.

    During the 2015 sampling event, it was the Borough which first identified 1,4-Dioxane in groundwater at the site. Results of surface water sampling continue to indicate that surface water does not contain elevated levels of contaminants, and that1,4-Dioxane related to the site is not impacting the Wanaque Reservoir.  Due to concerns about prior results for benzene in groundwater, the Borough took split samples in 2015 to compare their laboratory results with Ford’s results.  As required, the Borough’s laboratory analyzed for1,4-Dioxane and reported the results to the Borough.  The Borough distributed this data to the EPA and Ford. 

    Groundwater at the site is not being used as a drinking water source.

    In 2013, the EPA presented a proposed remediation plan to the National Remedy Review Board which included a costly, full excavation and removal remedy for 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 September 2013, the Borough of Ringwood proposed to build a new recycling center on top of the O’Connor site after it was capped. In June of 2014, the EPA issued its Record of Decision (ROD) for the Site. Details of that remedial plan are available on this website by clicking here.

    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 Differences in which EPA selected the proposal by Ringwood Borough and Ford Motor Company for the consolidation/capping remedy for O’Connor Disposal Area.