A group of residents in Pompton Lakes are conducting an independent property value survey of local homes because they say that the toxic legacy of DuPont and the contamination “plume” that has affected 540 residences, has devastated their health and the value of their homes.
Lisa Riggiola is championing the survey. She had a stack of envelopes all labeled “return to sender” and her goal was to drive to all the homes where the mailed surveys were returned.
“16 came back marked ‘vacant homes’ from the United States Post Office,” she explained.
The surveys that were sent out asked questions like:
--What did you buy your home for?
--What is it worth now?
--Have you tried to refinance?
And the results are piling in. Most homeowners are stating that they’re having difficulty, and that their home value has declined significantly. Many of these homes have been abandoned or foreclosed and are all in close proximity to each other.
The survey also asked one more very important question.
If the contamination isn’t cleaned up in 5 to 10 years, are residents willing to stay in their homes? The answers were repeatedly no, except for a few.
In 2008 DuPont told residents, by mail, that their homes were contaminated with toxic chemicals from the former DuPont site, which manufactured munitions from 1902-1994. This was all confirmed by a DuPont spokesman via email.
The former site caused a vapor intrusion of cancer causing chemicals. According to the Department of Health, in 2011 it was reported that Pompton Lakes residents were 38% more likely to develop certain types of cancer.
Geologist and Vapor Intrusion Remediation Specialist Jeff Carnahan, who is not connected with this project, but is a Licensed Professional Geologist (LPG) with 15 years of environmental consulting with EPA, said that the situation in Pompton Lakes is extremely unique and he’s never really seen something of this magnitude.
“When you talk about these homes where potentially a vapor intrusion has been an issue for 20 years, you’re getting towards the upper range of number of years where you’re like, well that could be of some concern as far as exposure duration to that compound,” he explained.
DuPont was contacted for a statement regarding the property values in Pompton Lakes and their response was:
“Our number one priority has always been and continues to be the safety of people and the environment.”
DuPont has taken full responsibility for the site and its cleanup.Watch Chasing New Jersey weeknights at 10pm on My9 and don’t forget to like us on Facebook!