Paramus New Jersey soil contamination cover-up

Paramus New Jersey soil contamination cover-up


In late May 2007, The Record, [a local paper]┬ábroke a story in which Paramus Public School officials knowingly failed to report the presence of the banned pesticides aldrin, dieldrin and chlordane on the campus of Westbrook, a middle school in the system. Responding to local outrage, the superintendent, Janice Dime, assured in a letter addressed to the public that the chemicals were not hazardous, however, town mayor, James Tedesco described Dime’s statement as being either misinformed or deliberately misleading. Because of public pressure, on June, 06, 2007, the district’s board of education placed Janice Dime on an extended leave and shut down Westbrook Middle School for decontamination and testing. On June 13, test results done by a town contracted firm revealed that two of the thirty tested areas on campus had levels of chlordane that exceeded state safety standards. Still, officials and specialists are pushing for more tests. Since the incident more soil tests have been conducted around the area and in other parts of Paramus, with some yielding positive for excessive presence of pesticide. Westbrook has been decontaminated and reopened to students, while Janice Dime has resigned from her position as superintendent.

In comparison, in 2011, Malibu High School had over 1000 tons of soil removed and Paramus had 40 tons of soil removed. Chlordane was the most toxic of the pesticides found in both Malibu and in Paramus. In Paramus the district hid their toxin issue for four months and in Malibu the district hid it for 4 years.

Paramus, NJ implemented the Precautionary Principal to handle their contamination issue. The City of Malibu and SMMUSD should both adopt this principal.

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