NJ SPOTLIGHT NEWS SUPERFUND SITE PODCAST, HAZARD NJ, VISITS THE MEADOWLANDS TO INVESTIGATE THE THREAT OF CLIMATE CHANGE

Hazard NJ is available through podcast platforms Apple PodcastsSpotifyAmazon Music, and more, with additional reporting posted to a landing page of the news division’s website, NJSpotlightNews.org/hazardnj

July 11, 2022 – NEWARK, NJ – NJ PBS, New Jersey’s public television network, announced that its news division, NJ Spotlight News, has dropped the latest episode of its podcast Hazard NJ, which covers the impacts of climate change on New Jersey’s Superfund sites. The latest episode, entitled A Comeback on the Hackensack, takes an investigative look at the contamination of New Jersey’s Meadowlands region and the Hackensack River. Hosted by journalist Jordan Gass-Pooré, the limited series Hazard NJ 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.

In New Jersey’s Meadowlands region, a century of pollution from nearby landfills and toxic industry has resulted in some of the world’s highest mercury readings, which led to a state ban on fishing and eating blue claw crabs in the lower Hackensack River. Jordan Gass-Pooré discusses the issue with environmental experts and stakeholders, explaining how climate change is expected to make flooding here more intense and frequent, and its impact on the residents and businesses in the surrounding area.

“The biggest concern, in that case, is that major storms can mobilize the mud (in the river),” says Walter Mugdan from the Environmental Protection Agency in the podcast. “If you have flooding…an area that maybe has less contamination might be moved to an area excavated the other way around from an area that has more contamination. It might move into areas that were less contaminated and actually make them worse.”

But help may be on the way as the lower Hackensack River may soon be named New Jersey’s 115th Superfund site, and that designation means a green light to begin the years-long process of cleaning up the river.

“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.”

Prior episodes of Hazard NJ study the Ringwood Mines, the American Cyanamid plant in Bridgewater and Diamond Alkali in Newark.

Hazard NJ is available through Apple PodcastsSpotifyAmazon Music , and other podcast platforms, with more reporting found on a landing page of the news division’s website, NJSpotlightNews.org/hazardnj.

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