NEW YORK — In an historic action that will protect people’s health and the environment and benefit riverfront communities, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a plan to remove 4.3 million cubic yards of highly contaminated sediment from the lower eight miles of the Passaic River in New Jersey, according to a press release.

The sediment in the Passaic River is severely contaminated with dioxin, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), heavy metals, pesticides and other contaminants from more than a century of industrial activity, noted the release, and the lower eight miles of the Passaic is the most heavily contaminated section of the river.

Read more on EPA here.

The EPA will accept public comments on its proposed plan from April 21 to June 20, reported the release.

According to the release, the EPA is proposing bank-to-bank dredging — one of the largest volumes ever to be dredged under the EPA’s Superfund program — followed by capping of the river bottom.

The proposed plan is based on an extensive seven-year study of the lower eight miles of the river known as a focused feasibility study, continued the release, and was developed in consultation with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration with outreach to representatives of the many communities along the lower Passaic River.

Read the full release here.