Hazard NJ Episode 3: Heart of Ringwood

Hazard NJ Episode 3: Heart of Ringwood

A series examining prominent Superfund sites around New Jersey, and ways they’re impacted by climate change. Hosted by journalist Jordan Gass-Poore’

Newark | Started on 18/05/2022

Hazard NJ is a podcast and multimedia series produced by NJ Spotlight News which examines prominent Superfund sites in New Jersey, and the ways in which they’re impacted by climate change.

The series is driven by local voices who have been personally impacted by the pollution that created each Superfund site, and by experts who lay out how future extreme weather events, fueled by climate change, threaten to further spread that pollution, if clean-up is not done quickly and thoroughly. Many residents who live on or near the Superfund sites featured on the podcast have cancer and other severe health problems. One street in Ringwood, New Jersey, is known to locals as “Cancer Row” because every household on it has been touched by the disease in some way. They believe these cancer cases are caused by the thousands of gallons of paint sludge, solvents, and other waste Ford Motor Company dumped into the mines scattered around the area.

Our reporting has led to instances of real-world impact. The project is likely to result in changes to the EPA’s cleanup methods, updating decades-long guidelines to include the impacts of climate change on Superfund sites in New Jersey. It should also motivate the State of New Jersey to allot more money to cleanup efforts and speed up the process. Specifically for the Ringwood, New Jersey, Superfund site, the podcast led to state officials announcing a lawsuit demanding damages from Ford, not just to recoup the costs of cleaning up the land, water, and air around the hazardous site, but also for the harm its pollution caused the community. Our work has changed the understanding of what it means to clean up Superfund sites in the face of climate change, and the long-term ripples of this impact will continue for years to come.

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Editor’s Note: All information published as submitted by the author(s). Minor edits may have been made to increase readability and understanding.