Environmental Tort Lawsuit Settled by Ford Over Toxic Waste Dump in NJ

Residents of a New Jersey town and Ford Motor Co. have reached a settlement in an environmental tort lawsuit filed over a toxic waste dump, which residents claim has caused many to suffer cancer and skin problems.

Although details of the settlement were not released, The Record of North Jersey reports that more than 600 plaintiffs will share in $10 million.

The environmental dumping lawsuit was filed in 2006 by residents of Ringwood, New Jersey, which is about 25 miles from New York City. The complaint alleged that Ford, URS Corp. and Arrow Group were liable for numerous health problems allegedly caused by a toxic waste dump filled with paint sludge and heavy metals from a car manufacturing plant.

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The dump was created in the 1960s and 1970s by independent contractors working for Ford, who dumped the toxic materials in a land fill, open pits and down an abandoned mine. The site was later placed on the federal Superfund list, a list of environmental cleanup sites identified by the federal government as requiring special federal assistance or funding to be properly addressed.

Residents say that exposure to the toxic materials, which contaminated ground water sources, caused cancer and skin diseases throughout the local population. The 500-acre site was cleaned up in 1994, but was later discovered to still contain a large amount of paint sludge and drums filled with toxic waste in 2004. The site was placed back on the Superfund list, and a new clean up began in 2006.

The EPA is currently investigating whether the site has been sufficiently cleaned up. While surface water tests have been clean, groundwater testing has found some evidence of contaminants that violate standards set by the Safe Drinking Water Act.

In October 2005, The Record published a five-part series outlining the environmental problems caused by the former Ford plant in northern New Jersey.


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