Remediation efforts along the Raritan River are essential to creating a space that can be economically developed and enjoyed by the public. In 2009, the Hazardous Sites and Sediment Cleanup Working Group of the Collaborative saw efforts to restore the Raritan as a dual approach: to encourage remediation of contaminated sites, including the sediments of the River, and a concerted effort to effect a significant reduction in contributions from the municipal, industrial, commercial, transportation and residential sources that continue to degrade the waters, sediments, and wetlands of the Raritan.
The most important goal of remediation is to meet EPA Clean Water Act requirements for a “fishable and swimmable” river. As New Jersey already has regulatory and remediation efforts underway, the Collaborative Working Group additionally recommends two areas where intervention is needed: (a) data collection, analysis, and distribution and (b) municipal outreach. The report explains, “To focus on achieving a fishable and swimmable Raritan River, adequate and targeted data is essential.
For municipal and county decision-makers to plan effectively to address remediation issues, they need to understand the overall context of the impacts. Data currently available on the Raritan is widely scattered, inconsistent, oftentimes insufficient, and frequently difficult to extract from website databases or unpublished reports filed at NJDEP. Without meaningful and scientific data, the compelling case for action is limited”.
The Sustainable Raritan River website pieces this data together, providing a comprehensive picture of remediation efforts and needs for communities along the River. Detailed mapping of remediation sites, as well as additional water quality testing and monitoring, is central to this effort. In addition to collecting and analyzing data efficiently, the Working Group recommends additional municipal outreach to further promote remediation efforts.
With quality assured data made available, the next step is to work with municipalities directly to demonstrate the value of additional local data in achieving local goals.
Reports and Links
- White Paper: Hazardous Sites and Sediment Cleanup. 2009. Sustainable Raritan River Initiative, Rutgers University
- EPA Raritan River Project. 2015. Water Resources Program, Rutgers Cooperative Extension