WAPPINGER – A portion of Wappinger Creek in Dutchess County has
been placed on the Superfund National Priorities List of the country’s
most hazardous waste sites.
Sediment in a two-mile long tidal portion of the creek which is downstream
from an industrial park is contaminated with mercury, polycyclic aromatic
hydrocarbons and other pollutants.
Mercury in sediment can build up in fish and other wildlife and pose a
threat to people who eat them.
Environmental Protection Agency Regional Director Judith Enck said now
that the section of the creek is on the Superfund list, the EPA will take
action “to clean up this legacy of toxic pollution.”
That portion of the creek placed on the list includes locations in the
Village of Wappingers Falls and the towns of Poughkeepsie and Wappinger.
For more than 180 years, an industrial park along the creek was used for
hat manufacturing, textile dyeing, manufactured gas plant operations,
metal plating, ammunition production, chemical manufacturing and other
activities. Those activities contaminated the creek and surrounding communities.
The Superfund program operates on the principle that polluters should
pay for the cleanups rather than passing the costs on to taxpayers. The
EPA searches for parties legally responsible for contaminating a site,
and holds them accountable for cleanup costs.