EPA to Tear Down NJ Site of '83 Chemical Spill

The former E.C. Electroplating factory in Garfield, N.J. will be demolished, after the Environmental Protection Agency's investigation into a 1983 chromium spill there

Federal officials are set to announce plans to tear down a polluted factory site in New Jersey that residents in the city believe is toxic, NBC 4 New York has learned.

The EPA is prepared to announce that it's prepared to spend millions of dollars tearing down the former E.C. Electroplating company, then cleaning up the ground beneath.

The announcement will be made at a news conference Wednesday involving the EPA, Sens. Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, and city of Garfield officials. 

The federal government has confirmed there is dangerous hexavalent chromium in the ground, and of the 490 homes checked so far by the EPA, 13 were found to be contaminated with chromium. Another 160 homeowners have yet to let the government in. 

Ashley Skiba, 25, lives in Garfield and blames her recently diagnosed brain tumor on the toxic accident. Her sister Alicia was also 25 when she died of a brain tumor last year.

While no one has determined what caused her illness or her sister's, Skiba told NBC 4 New York, "I feel like the chromium spill is to blame." 

City manager Thomas Duch says the state of New Jersey underestimated the problem for decades. The probe into the factory spill has "taken far too long," Duch said. "There's no getting past that." 

Across the street from the chromium tank, Don and Colleen Calderio face their own concerns about tearing down the toxic plant. 

"It's like a time bomb, waiting," said Colleen Calderio. "Something's gonna happen." 


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