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The presence of toxic chemicals in water and sediments throughout New York-New Jersey Harbor results in reduced water quality, fisheries restrictions/advisories and general adverse impacts to the estuarine and coastal ecosystems. Problems associated with the management of contaminated dredged material have resulted in uncertainty regarding the construction and future maintenance of the maritime infrastructure that supports shipping in the Harbor.

The NJ Toxics Reduction Workplan for NY-NJ Harbor (NJTRWP) includes a series of water quality and hydrodynamic studies designed to provide the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) with the information it needs to identify sources of the toxic chemicals of concern, and to prioritize these sources for appropriate action. The NJTRWP is the NJ component of the NY-NJ Harbor Estuary Program Contaminant Assessment and Reduction Project (CARP). A total of $9.5 million in funding for the NJTRWP was provided by the Port Authority of NY-NJ, through the Office of Maritime Resources, NJ Department of Transportation. The two-volume New Jersey Toxics Reduction Workplan, including its Quality Assurance Project Plan, is available.

Phase One of the NJTRWP included a set of ambient water quality, source loading, and hydrodynamic studies:

• Study I-C (implemented by the U.S. Geological Survey) - samples were collected at the heads-of-tide of the five major New Jersey tributaries to the harbor (the Passaic, Hackensack, Elizabeth, Rahway, and Raritan Rivers); USGS Data Report

Study I-D (implemented by Stevens Institute of Technology) - samples were collected within the tidal reaches of these five tributaries;
• Study I-E (water quality component implemented by SIT) - samples were collected in the estuarine areas of Newark Bay, the Kill van Kull, and the Arthur Kill;

• Study I-E (hydrodynamic component implemented by SIT and Rutgers University) -hydrodynamic studies of currents, tidal elevations, etc. were conducted in conjunction with the ambient water quality studies;

• Study I-G (implemented by Great Lakes Environmental Center) - sampled the discharges from all twelve (12) NJ wastewater treatment plants (POTWs) that discharge to the harbor, as well as from selected combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and stormwater outfalls (SWOs).

The NJTRWP sampling program and data analysis activities focus on the detection of very low concentrations of toxic contaminants using state-of-the-science sampling and analytical procedures. The samples were analyzed for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins/furans (PCDD/Fs), organochlorine pesticides (including DDT, chlordane, and dieldrin), polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and the metals cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), and methyl-Hg. The NJDEP-DSRT Research Project Summaries for the ambient water quality and POTW\CSO\SWO studies are available.

sampling pictureThe NJTRWP includes studies of the hydrodynamics of the Newark Bay - Arthur Kill - Kill van Kull complex and the Passaic, Hackensack, and Raritan Rivers. These studies are the first comprehensive investigation of the movement of water and suspended sediment throughout NY-NJ Harbor. Short duration and longer-term measurements of water currents, tides, and suspended sediment have been obtained simultaneously with water sampling for the chemicals of concern. The NJDEP-DSRT Research Project Summary is also available.

NY-NJ HEP Contaminant Assessment and Reduction Project (CARP)

In 1997, the NY-NJ Harbor Estuary Program (HEP) established the Contaminant Assessment and Reduction Project (CARP). The CARP is a multi-agency, bi-state (NJ and NY) effort to develop a better understanding of toxic contamination in NY-NJ Harbor, with a focus on the management of contaminated dredged material. The water quality data from the NJTRWP and the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) CARP program have been compiled into the CD-ROM CARP Database, and have been used to develop the CARP Model of sediment and chemical transport and fate in NY-NJ Harbor. Additional information on CARP, and instructions for obtaining a copy of the CARP Database and the CARP Model reports, can be found at: www.carpweb.org

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Office of Science
Dr. Gary A. Buchanan, Manager
Mailing Address:
Mail code 428-01, P.O. Box 420
P.O. Box 420
Trenton, NJ 0862

Phone: (609) 984-6070
Fax: (609) 292-7340


For Information regarding this site, please contact Terri Tucker.


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Last Updated: June 16, 2014