Public meeting on non-cleanup of DuPont toxic waste pile on Cherry Island–January 7, 2004

[Note:  This article was reposted on August 24, 2015]

Green Delaware Alert #388
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Public meeting on non-cleanup of DuPont toxic waste pile on Cherry Island–January 7, 2004

January 7, 2004. One of the great environmental scandals of Delaware is the production of dioxin at DuPont’s Edge Moor plant near Claymont.

Dioxin is one of, if not the, most toxic substances every identified. DuPont at Edge Moor is the largest dioxin source in the US if not in the world, emitting over half of the dioxin known to be emitted in the United States. See Alert 242: “52% of total US dioxin emissions are from Delaware–Up from 38% in 2000,” Wednesday, July 2, 2003 at

Until a few years ago DuPont and state regulators did not know, or admit to knowing, about this dioxin, which emerges as small part (proportionately) of a solid waste product DuPont calls “Iron Rich.” Not only were no special precautions taken, but DuPont actually sought to sell the material for treatment of drinking water and for other purposes.

The “Iron Rich” wastes are now being sent to a municipal garbage dump in South Carolina, but there is a giant pile of the stuff next to the Dirty Solid Waste Authority Cherry Island garbage dump.

DuPont and DNREC have been negotiating a “voluntary cleanup” of this Cherry Island pile for a few years. Officially, they don’t even admit that the dioxin is a problem, but they do admit that arsenic, hexachlorobenzene, and other dangerous toxins are in the pile.

The agreed-upon solution:

Cover the pile up with plastic and 18 inches of dirt, and leave it there forever. Coincidentally, this is cheaper than other alternatives studied.

The technical arguments for this are similar to the arguments in favor of expanding the neighboring Dirty Authority garbage dump: That the contaminated dredge spoils under the DuPont waste are a low permeability “natural liner,” that nobody uses the river anyway so it’s OK to leak dioxin into it,and so on…..

Now that the deal has been done, a “public meeting” is being held to explain why this is the best solution and to accept public comment. Theoretically, the plan could be changed in response to public comments.


Public Meeting (public notice appeared 12/19/04 in the News Journal, page E8)
Friday, January 7, at 6:00 p.m.
Brandywine 100 Fire Hall (1006 Brandywine Blvd., Wilmington)

RE: Proposed Plan of Remedial Action for Hay Street Sludge Drying (Cherry Island Landfill-Iron Rich Staging Area) Site

The format will be very similar to the public meeting for the on-site pond closure plan that was held in March 2002.

Questions? Please call Robert Doremus, S.H.E. Manager, DuPont Titanium Technologies, Edge Moor Plant, 104 Hay Road, Edge Moor, DE 19809, 302-761-2183


Note that this meeting is being held at 6:00 p.m. on a Friday night. You are hearing about it a few hours before because we heard about it from DNREC last night. (Apparently a notice was published in the Stooge on December 19, 2004.)

Broadly speaking, DuPont claims it’s “DNREC’s meeting” and DNREC claims it’s “DuPont’s meeting.”

Will any of the organizations supposedly representing the most threatened communities object?

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