The future of the 30-acre New Vernon Road property - part of the Asbestos Dump Superfund site in Long Hill Township, N.J. - looks green...very green.
Under the terms of an agreement announced this week by U.S. Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), most of the New Vernon Road property will be preserved and used to expand the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. The property is one of four areas contaminated through the improper handling and disposal of asbestos materials.
EPA has completed cleanup work at the federal Superfund site and will transfer custody of 25 uncontaminated acres to FWS, which will set up an environmental awareness center in a barn currently housed on the lot. NJDEP will take title to the remaining five acres containing the landfill of asbestos material remediated by EPA. FWS will provide NJDEP with $300,000 to help maintain this portion of the property.
EPA Administrator Christie Whitman and Regional Administrator Jane M. Kenny joined NJDEP Commissioner Bob Shinn and FWS Acting Deputy Regional Director Rick Bennett to mark the land transfer at a celebratory event hosted by Frelinghuysen.
"This refuge is a testament to the good that can be accomplished when interested citizens come together in an important cause," said Whitman. "And this is not an isolated case. More than 100 Superfund sites across America have been cleaned up and made available to their communities for productive use."
Kenny, saying, "We are always pleased to be able to say our job is done," added, "We are doubly pleased that this site is being transferred to the Great Swamp and will be preserved for future generations."
The Asbestos Dump site consists of four different properties, including an 11-acre site in Millington, N.J., where, beginning in 1927, a succession of owners operated an asbestos product manufacturing plant. Asbestos material disposed of at the Millington site comprised a large mound of approximately 1.5 acres. Three separate satellite sites were contaminated when asbestos-contaminated waste materials from the Millington site were landfilled at nearby properties. One of the properties is the New Vernon Road site, which was a corn and dairy farm in the 1960s and was later used to landfill broken asbestos tiles and siding, as well as loose asbestos fibers.
Another satellite property, the White Bridge Road site, covers 12 acres and was also a farm until 1969, when the owner started landfilling asbestos waste. Both the New Vernon Road and White Bridge Road sites adjoin the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. The third site is known as the Dietzman Tract, located within the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge and used as a dump for refuse and asbestos.
edited by Sandy Smith ([email protected])