Through the cleanup process, EPA intends to remove heavily contaminated stretch of the Passaic adjacent to the Diamond Alkali Superfund site in Newark.

Vertical steel walls will be installed in the river to enclose the area, making it possible for EPA to remove the sediment without spreading contamination during dredging.

EPA regional administrator Judith Enck said the cleanup of this section of the Passaic River will remove the most highly contaminated sediment, which is a continuing source of contamination flowing downstream.

Under a June 2008 agreement between EPA and Occidental Chemical Corp and Tierra Solutions, the companies will remove 200,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment from the badly contaminated area directly in front of the Diamond Alkali site.

The cleanup of the lower Passaic River has been divided into two phases, and the first phase of cleanup is designed to protect the river, workers conducting the cleanup and the communities along the river.

In the first phase, about 40,000 cubic yards of the most highly contaminated sediment will be removed and then piped to a processing facility beginning in the spring of 2012.

In the planned second phase of the project, 160,000 cubic yards of sediment, much of it with lower levels of contamination than the first 40,000 cubic yards, will be removed from the same area of the Passaic River.