Hazard NJ is available through podcast platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music , and more, with additional information posted on a landing page of the news division’s website, NJSpotlightNews.org/hazardnj
JUNE 22, 2022 – NEWARK, NJ – NJ PBS, New Jersey’s public television network, announced that its news division, NJ Spotlight News, will drop the latest episode of its new Superfund site podcast series, Hazard NJ, this week, taking an investigative look at New Jersey’s Ringwood Mines. Prior episodes study the American Cyanamid plant in Bridgewater and Diamond Alkali in Newark. Hazard NJ is available through podcast platforms Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, and more, with additional reporting found on a landing page of the news division’s website, NJSpotlightNews.org/hazardnj.
Hosted by journalist Jordan Gass-Pooré, Hazard NJ cross-examines New Jersey’s Superfund sites and the impact of climate change. She digs through contaminated sites, data and communities to get a clearer picture of the potentially volatile future of Superfund sites as environmental factors such as sea level rise and global temperature fluctuation continue to alter the planet’s landscape.
This new episode explores Ringwood Mines. From the 1960s through the 1970s, Ford Motor Company dumped thousands of tons of paint sludge and other waste from the company’s assembly plant in Mahwah into the abandoned mines of Upper Ringwood, New Jersey, a small neighborhood in the Borough of Ringwood. In 1984, Ringwood Mines was added to the Superfund list. Ford was responsible for cleaning up the site and they did it in record time.
The EPA gave the site a clean bill of health when they delisted it in 1994. But since then, residents of Upper Ringwood, many of whom are members of the Turtle Clan of the Ramapough-Munsee Lenape Nation, continued to find paint sludge in their yards and scattered throughout the area. Many of Upper Ringwood’s residents say contamination from the paint sludge has made them sick. There are cases of skin rashes, severe headaches, bleeding from the eyes, nose, and throat, and various cancers. In 2006, Ringwood Mines was put back on the Superfund list – a first for the EPA.
In this latest episode, Gass-Pooré explains that the current issues at Ringwood Mines include climate threats, including increasingly heavy rainfall that may quickly flow through the area’s fractured bedrock, spreading already polluted groundwater in ways that geologists and engineers don’t fully understand. That puts nearby bodies of water at risk, including the Wanaque Reservoir, which supplies drinking water to two-to-three million people.
“These sites have layered, complex issues,” says Gass-Pooré. “Our goal with this series is to dissect the physical and cultural components of these places, weigh what’s at stake, from public health to political ramifications, with an eye on mapping out their future.”
The next Hazard NJ episode this month will evaluate conditions along the Hackensack River and the Meadowlands.
NJ Spotlight News is an award-winning multiplatform news organization that provides reporting from across all 21 counties in New Jersey and beyond through a weeknight newscast, NJ Spotlight News with Briana Vannozzi on NJ PBS, a robust website, social media platforms, daily newsletters and community engagement events. Learn more at NJSpotlightNews.org.
Support for Hazard NJ is provided by Peril and Promise, a public media reporting initiative covering the human stories of climate change and its solutions, with major funding provided by Dr. P. Roy Vagelos and Diana T. Vagelos. You can learn more at pbs.org/perilandpromise.