CONGRESSMAN FRANK PALLONE, JR.
Sixth District of New Jersey
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 1, 2006
CONTACT: Andrew Souvall or Heather Lasher Todd, (202) 225-4671
Middlesex, NJ — U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), federal and state officials, and New Jersey elected leaders joined together today to announce $15 million in proposed federal funds for continuing the cleanup of chemical and radioactive contamination at the former Middlesex Sampling Plant in Middlesex, NJ.
The announcement was made at the site of the former Sampling Plant, which was used to process radioactive ores as part of the Manhattan Project to develop the first atomic bomb. While the plant site is no longer operational, large amounts of contamination are still present.
“Like so many other contaminated sites throughout Middlesex County, this site poses potential health threats and needs to get cleaned up as soon as possible,” Pallone said today.
Pallone, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said the cleanup is especially necessary now, as more and more people are purchasing homes in Middlesex Boro, in the vicinity of the former Sampling Plant site.
From the 1940s until 1967, the Middlesex Sampling Plant received a variety of radioactive ores (uranium, thorium, and beryllium) that were analyzed and sent to other sites for processing as part of the Manhattan Project. Activity at the site ended in 1967, at which point the site was supposedly cleaned of radiation and used temporarily as a Marine Corps reserve training facility. A site assessment in 1980 found continued contamination, and the area was declared a Superfund site in 1999. Remaining cleanup work includes moving any extra material to proper landfills and remediating subsurface soil and groundwater as necessary. The President’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2007 contains $15 million to do much of this work.
“I was pleasantly surprised to see that the President’s budget contains $15 million for the former Middlesex Sampling Plant,” Pallone said. “This funding level would actually allow the Army Corps to do all possible work on the site in the upcoming fiscal year to ensure it is safe for human use once again and does not pose a threat to the rest of the community.”
Pallone said that while the $15 million in proposed federal funding is critical to moving the cleanup process forward, there is still further work to be done to ensure that the full amount of funding ends up in the final Appropriations Act for 2007.
“Back in Washington, I’m going to work with other members of the New Jersey delegation and with the Army Corps to make sure the Appropriators understand how important cleanup of this site is to the Boro and the region,” Pallone said.