June 1, 2010 - When John Sinsimer made his long-shot bid in 1987 to become Pompton Lakes' first Democratic mayor in 20 years, he won by promising to address an infestation of starlings and limit development.
He never mentioned a far more dire issue: contamination at a DuPont explosives plant and the fact that groundwater laced with toxic solvents was spreading under a nearby neighborhood.
That's because Sinsimer never knew the pollution existed. Hardly anybody in town was aware, even though documents show DuPont and state environmental officials had been discussing it for several years.
Three months into his term, Sinsimer learned about the contamination — by accident – when he found documents about DuPont locked in a Borough Hall file cabinet.