Environmental risk assessment of paint sludge from Ramapo/Ringwood, NJ.

Date of Award


Document Type



College of Liberal Arts

Degree Name

Bachelor in Arts


A paint sludge sample from the Ramapough Indian Reservation in Ramapo, NJ, the site of chemical dumping by Ford Motor Company, was analyzed to determine its toxic components in order to perform a preliminary risk assessment of the site. The paint sludge sample was evaluated based on two major components: volatile and semi-volatile compounds, evaluated via gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), and heavy metals, evaluated via inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP- OES). GC-MS headspace analysis of the paint sludge sample identified over 40 volatile organic compounds, consisting primarily of aromatic compounds such as xylenes and naphthalene. Leaching of heavy metals under different environmental conditions was simulated, including bioavailability (i.e., ingestion), short and long term exposure to surface and ground water on the site, and acidic landfill conditions. Pb, As, Cd, Cr, and Se were found at concentrations of 68,000 ppb, 122 ppb, 341 ppb, 33,000 ppb, and 38 ppb in the bioavailability extract, and 30 ppb, 10 ppb, 5 ppb, 90 ppb, and 21 ppb, respectively in the DI water extract, above accepted levels set by the EPA. Worst-case scenario risk assessments indicate that in the DI water, Soxhlet water, and bioavailability leachates, hazard quotients for As, Cr, Cu, and Pb are greater than 1, suggesting that these elements may pose a risk to the Ringwood residents in the future based on the current proposed remediation plans.