I’ve been living in New Jersey for quite awhile now and what really bothers me is when someone from outside Jersey calls the state a dump. Now it’s true that NJ does have the most toxic waste dumps in the U.S.A with 108, but the funny thing is that for all the time that I’ve lived here I’ve never seen one. So I decided to head out and find one.
I guess because of my influence from “The Toxic Avenger” movies I was expecting to see huge coolant towers or rusty barrels with green slime oozing out of them. But when I did find my first toxic waste dump it was unlike anything I was expecting.
I live in Mount Laurel, NJ which is in Burlington County and which I recently learned has the most superfund sites (which is technical talk for a toxic waste dump) than any other county in New Jersey. The closest one to where I live was located right off Route 38 in Mount Holly, NJ conveniently placed right across the street from a Wal-Mart that thousands of people visit everyday. I’ve been to this Wal-Mart numerous times and never gave a second thought about the wide open field across the street. A field that is actually a 210 acre landfill housing loads and loads of hazardous contaminants.
I’ll be honest. I have no idea what these contaminants are but I have a feeling you don’t exactly want them hanging around the house.
1,1,1 – Trichloroethane
1,2 – Dichloroethane
The last published report about the safety of this site was done in September of 1983. Nice, a good 28 years has past. In that last report it was documented that seeps from the landfill had polluted the Rancocas Creek and Smithville Canal which I see people canoing and sometimes swimming in.
So I guess I feel a little bit more like an official New Jersey resident now that I’ve visited my first official toxic dump. It wasn’t as visually impressive as I was hoping for but in a way I guess that’s a good thing, because we never seem to worry about things that we don’t see. However, now I think twice when I’m out driving and I see a nice large open field that’s surrounded by a barbed-wire fence. I can’t help but think about what nasty materials must be stored inside.
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