The federal Environmental Protection Agency says it found contaminated soil at a beach in Sayreville and at two spots in Old Bridge and will close the areas in order to begin removal action at the contaminated locations.
The 3 locations include one near the Laurence Harbor sea wall and another near popular fishing jetty near Cheesequake Creek inlet. The areas are being called the Raritan Bay Slag Site.
According to the EPA, the slag columns were dumped in those areas and are too heavy (several hundred pounds each) to have drifted in via the water. Reports say that lead slag from blast furnace bottoms had been deposited along the beachfront in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
What is most disturbing about this story is that it is not a newly-discovered problem. Contamination was first detected in Laurence Harbor in 2007. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection had already notified area residents of elevated levels of lead, antimony, arsenic and copper along the Laurence Harbor seawall.
According to a report in the Edison-Metuchen Sentinel, th mayors of Sayreville and Old Bridge have called for National Lead Industries to take responsibility for the cleanup of the areas. NLI is a defunct Sayreville-based manufacturer.
Lead exposure has been linked to neurological damage, kidney disease and other major health issues.