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News Releases from Region 02

EPA Finalizes Cleanup Plan to Address Groundwater Contamination at the Ringwood Mines/Landfill Superfund Site in New Jersey

Contact Information: 
Contact: Elias Rodriguez (
(212) 637-3664

RINGWOOD, N.J. - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized its cleanup plan to address groundwater and mine water contamination at the Ringwood Mines/Landfill Superfund Site in Ringwood. The final decision, in the form of a Record of Decision, addresses contaminants in groundwater at the site by providing for the installation of wells near the Peters Mine Pit and Peters Mine Pit Airshaft, perpendicular to the direction of groundwater flow, to introduce an oxygen-releasing compound into the aquifer to enhance the breakdown of contaminants. A Record of Decision follows after a cleanup proposal. The EPA held a public meeting in February 2020 to explain its cleanup proposal, discuss the other cleanup options that were considered, and to solicit public comments.

“This plan will address contamination in the groundwater and mine water under the Ringwood site to ensure that it does not pose a risk to people in the community,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “We know our cleanup decision is critically important to members and supporters of the Ringwood community. EPA carefully considered all of the public comments that were submitted, and we encourage everyone to review our responses to those comments located on the website.”

In addition to groundwater, EPA’s final cleanup plan also addresses contaminants in mine water in the Peters Mine Pit Airshaft by adding granular activated carbon and resin into the Peters Mine Pit Airshaft to treat contaminants. The Peters Mine Pit Airshaft would then be closed using conventional mine shaft closure technology. The specific technology will be determined during the design of the cleanup.

With these combined actions, EPA expects to address an ongoing source of groundwater contamination and help the aquifer to recover. The Record of Decision also provides for long-term groundwater and surface water monitoring to ensure the protection of drinking water resources.

Throughout the cleanup, EPA will monitor the cleanup progress and conduct a review of the cleanup at least every 5 years to ensure its effectiveness.

To read the EPA’s selected cleanup plan, outlined in the Record of Decision, and to view EPA’s responses to public comments in the Responsiveness Summary, please visit EPA also extended its public comment period for the site at the request of the community to give them more time to review the proposed plan.

The 500-acre Ringwood Mines/Landfill Site is in a historic iron mining district in the Borough of Ringwood, New Jersey. The site, which is in a forested area with about 50 private homes, includes abandoned mine shafts and pits, an inactive landfill, and other disposal areas. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, areas of the site were used to dispose of waste materials, including paint sludge and waste in drums, from Ford’s automobile assembly plant in Mahwah, New Jersey. Sampling of the paint sludge showed that it contained lead, arsenic, chromium and other contaminants. The site was originally added to the Superfund list of hazardous waste sites in 1983. It was removed from the Superfund list in 1994 based on a finding that all appropriate cleanup actions had been taken. In 1995, 1998 and 2004, additional areas of paint sludge were discovered at the site, prompting further cleanup actions. The EPA restored the site to the Superfund list in 2006 due to this discovery of additional contaminated materials.

Between 1984 and 1988, Ford, with EPA oversight, conducted an investigation of the nature and extent of contamination at the site. Ford excavated and disposed of the paint sludge found and monitored groundwater and surface water on a long-term basis. In 1987-1988, 7,000 cubic yards of paint sludge and soil were removed from the site. Approximately 600 cubic yards of paint sludge and 54 intact and crushed drums were removed in 1990. Since December 2004, approximately 53,528 tons of additional paint sludge, drum remnants, and associated soil from the Peters Mine Pit Area, the O’Connor Disposal Area, and 16 other disposal areas within the site were removed and disposed of properly at permitted facilities.

Work on a separate cleanup plan that addressed the land-based contamination in three areas of the site is underway. That cleanup plan contains the following elements to address contamination in three areas of the site:

  • Peters Mine Pit – Contaminated soil and other material will be removed from around the opening of the mine pit, and the pit will be capped.
  • Cannon Mine Pit – The mine pit will be capped.
  • O’Connor Disposal Area – The area will be capped, and the Borough of Ringwood plans to build a recycling center on this area of the site.

For a direct link to the Record of Decision, visit

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