2014-01-16 / Front Page

Borough agency seeks grant to continue chemical cleanup

Staff Writer

SAYREVILLE — Environmental cleanup of the former National Lead property is inching forward with a grant application to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to continue remediation of the site.

A public hearing on the Sayreville Economic Redevelopment Agency (SERA) application for a cleanup grant on Jan. 8 focused on options for remediation of a 30- acre plume of contaminated groundwater located in the area known as Parcel C at 1000 Chevalier Ave.

“The grant is based on certain criteria, such as community need and what the development impact is,” said Liz Gabor, senior real estate manager for Pennsylvania-based developer O’Neill Properties, which is redeveloping the site.

“The EPA looks at development benefits such as job creation and the fact that the land will become revitalized and useful.”

SERA’s application is for a $200,000 grant that would go toward the cost of extracting metals and other toxins from the groundwater, present from decades of industrial use at the site.

The property, which totals 450 acres along the Garden State Parkway and Routes 9 and 35, is considered a brownfield — a property being redeveloped that may contain a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant, according to the EPA brownfields website.

According to the grant application, National Lead manufactured titanium dioxide pigment at the site from 1935 until 1982. The site was in use until 1997 by other companies, the last one being sulfuric acid manufacturer Marsulex Inc.

According to SERA Executive Director Joseph Ambrosio, the agency condemned the site in 2005. SERA currently leases the property to Sayreville Seaport Associates (SSA), an affiliate of O’Neill Properties.

“We reached an agreement with SSA where they will clean up the property, provided that they develop it as per the plans they file with us,” Ambrosio said, referring to Luxury Point at Sayreville, the mixed-use development that will eventually be built on Parcel C and two other parcels referred to as parcels A and B.

“Assuming everything goes right, we will eventually turn the property over to them to develop the site in a way that benefits the town.”

SSA will be financially responsible for the remediation, which has a cost estimate of approximately $4 million, according to Gabor. If the grant is awarded, the group will provide an additional $40,000, or 20 percent of the grant total, toward the cleanup.

According to the grant application, there are three potential options for cleanup: institutional control that would prevent use of the groundwater; cleanup using a lime slurry injection; and cleanup using a magnesium injection.

At the hearing held at Sayreville Borough Hall, Mike Gonshor of the environmental consulting firm Roux Associates, which is overseeing the cleanup, concurred with SERA engineer David Samuel that lime slurry is the appropriate method of cleanup.

“This is the proposal that SERA has been involved with for at least three years,” Samuel said. “[Lime] is something that we’ve been anticipating is going to be the remediation for the property.”

Gonshor said lime slurry neutralizes the pH balance of water and will reduce the metals and other foreign materials in the groundwater. Roux Associates will monitor the cleanup process.

“We will inject 1.8 million gallons of lime slurry into the source area that will bring the source area to an accepted pH level,” Gonshor said. “Lime slurry precipitates it out of the groundwater. It is injected for a period of time and is monitored to see how it is affecting the groundwater remediation in the source area.”

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has already approved the use of slurry on the property, according to SERA’s grant application.

The application notes that magnesium would have a reduced cost and would be easier to use than lime, but Gonshor said magnesium is less readily available. The application also notes that institutional control “does not address groundwater issues or potential impacts to the [Raritan] river.”

According to the application, nearly 400,000 cubic yards of contaminated material — including soil, concrete and other materials have been removed thus far.

Ambrosio said the environmental cleanup at Parcel C is approximately 50 to 60 percent done.

The application to the EPA is due Jan. 22. According to Gabor, if the EPA selects SERA’s application, the award notice would be made in October. Work on the property would not start until after the EPA’s decision is made.

“The analysis doesn’t become final until the EPA chooses to accept the application and we negotiate a proper agreement with them, and then have a final public meeting,” Gabor said. “I hope that the already approved remediation work plan will benefit our application.”

According to Gabor, cleanup of Parcel A is complete, aside from debris washed ashore during superstorm Sandy. Parcel B has yet to be addressed.

A copy of SERA’s application to the EPA is available for the public at Sayreville Borough Hall.

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