Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Tackling a Toxic Mess

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Tackling a Toxic Mess

Article excerpt

EDGEWATER -- Federal environmental officials and corporate remediation experts detailed on Tuesday plans to protect public health during upcoming work on a controversial $78 million project that will entomb a century's worth of underground pollution at the Quanta Superfund site.

The project, which is slated to begin in late September, will involve mixing cement into the soil at the 5.5-acre site spanning River Road to lock in place tons of coal tar, PCBs, arsenic, waste oil and other contaminants.

In addition, a well system will be installed south of the site to collect such liquid contaminants as coal tar and oil to prevent them from migrating farther.

For months before the plan was announced, in 2011, residents had called for the wholesale removal of contaminants. Excavation, however, would have been potentially disruptive to the community, needing as many as 12,000 truck trips to haul out the toxic material, environmental officials said at the time.

Representatives of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Honeywell International Inc., which inherited the liability for the pollution along with 23 other companies, responded to concerns expressed by residents in a pair of informational sessions at Borough Hall on Tuesday.

They assured residents that to protect the air quality in the neighborhood during the project, eight air monitoring stations will be set up around the site to prevent dust or airborne contaminants from reaching government action levels, and to manage any odors coming from the site.

Should action levels be exceeded, said John Morris, Honeywell's global remediation director, the project could be slowed down or even halted. Results of all air quality tests will be posted on the project website,, within about 24 hours of each test, he said.

Morris also told residents that Honeywell would work with whichever developer eventually builds on the site to make sure that aspects of construction, like the driving of piles, does not compromise the remediation work. …

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