Contamination covers the history of paint sludge dumping, remediation efforts, and the impact on human health and environmental systems. It describes the unique chemical and toxicant composition of paint sludge, as well as the difficulty that the Ramapough have faced in proving that illnesses are connected to contamination. It is important to understand that some Ramapough live in the Superfund site, not near it. The EPA removed contaminated soil from 23 residential properties. Residents recall playing with the sludge as children - making mud pies in the woods and sledding down “Sludge Hill” (now the SR-6 removal site). Despite the sustained, long-term, extreme proximity to toxic sludge, the Ramapough have had a difficult time making the case that their illnesses are connected to the toxicants. This section outlines the difficulties that citizens face as they are tasked with proving that health conditions are caused by pollution.
Many Americans do not know what the term “Superfund” refers to. This section provides an overview of the Superfund program, which refers to land in the United States that has been contaminated by hazardous waste and identified by the EPA as a candidate for cleanup because it poses a risk to human health and/or the environment. Graphics and text explain the Superfund process from site listing to remediation, and the movement and storage of hazardous waste through the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Maps and graphics show the location of Superfund sites across the country and in New Jersey; the connection between specific toxicants and diseases; and strategies for phytoremediation (using plants to remove toxins from the soil).