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The creek, named for Major John Berry, an early British settler and Deputy Governor of New Jersey, is largely a tidal estuary, along with the Hackensack River. It rises at Riser Ditch in Teterboro, some of which is within the bounds of Teterboro Airport. The creek then winds through Moonachie and Carlstadt. In East Rutherford, the creek forms the western boundary of the Meadowlands Sports Complex.
At Route 3, the Berry's Creek Canal runs directly to the Hackensack River, entirely in East Rutherford, while the creek itself crosses into Rutherford and then forms the boundary between Rutherford and Lyndhurst until it reaches the Hackensack, which forms the boundary between Bergen and Hudson counties.
The creek has been measured as having the highest concentration of mercury of any fresh-water sediment in the world, the result of the discharge of 268 tons of mercury-contaminated toxic waste into the creek between 1929 and 1974. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1983 and 1984 designated three industrial sites in Wood-Ridge, East Rutherford and Carlstadt adjacent to the creek as Superfund sites. EPA and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection have begun cleanup activities on these sites but completion is projected to take several more years.
Superfund sites include the Scientific Chemical site in Carlstadt, Universal Oil Products site in East Rutherford and the Ventron/Velsicol site, which spans Wood-Ridge and Carlstadt. In addition to mercury, all three sites are laden with PCBs. Only the Scientific Chemical site is listed as “under control.”