Compiled by Martin C. Daks, Contributing Editor
Environmental awareness is at an all-time high, and New Jersey is at the forefront of the move to protect natural resources and the environment. COMMERCE spoke with experts to learn more about cleanup and remediation success stories.
By Ray Hinkle, Principal Ecologist, Vice President, Business Development
For more than 25 years, AECOM has been working with PSEG Nuclear to restore tidal wetlands along the Delaware Bay as part of the PSEG Estuary Enhancement Program (EEP). A focus of the EEP has been the restoration of wetlands that had previously been diked by local salt hay farmers to grow and harvest salt hay. PSEG saw the opportunity to enhance the Delaware Bay ecosystem by restoring natural tidal flows to these areas, thereby increasing their contribution to the wetland and aquatic ecosystems of the Bay. As we helped to develop the EEP, we were careful to incorporate sound ecological engineering so the 6,000 acres of formerly diked wetlands in the program could be restored to a self-sustaining, natural condition, providing access to fish, maintaining native marsh vegetation and maintaining marsh elevations with anticipated sea level rises. This has been achieved, as the tidal marsh vegetation has been restored as envisioned, native fish, birds and other wildlife have returned, and public access has been provided. AECOM continues to work with PSEG to maintain the EEP, which has been hailed as one of the largest and most successful tidal marsh restoration projects in the nation.
By Philip I. Brilliant, CHMM, LSRP, Owner/Principal Environmental Scientist
Toms River Township had taken over a family owned egg farm under eminent domain, with plans to turn it into open space. But the township was going to significantly reduce the purchase price of the 35-acre property because of necessary environmental remediation. The owner, however, had the option of calling in his own LSRP, and brought us in. During a six-week period in 2019, we completed the site remediation, the remedial action outcome, and the response action outcome, all at a considerably lower cost that enabled the property owner to pocket more money. The cleanup involved metals and base neutrals, asbestos remediation and the removal of solid waste from the property. The town is now in the process of tearing down the existing buildings and will deliver a nice parcel for residents to enjoy.
Brownfield Redevelopment Solutions Inc.
By Michele Christina, Co-Owner
The ABC Barrel Project in Camden is a great project in which Brownfield Redevelopment Solutions Inc. has been involved, on a site that was adjacent to my backyard. Anchored by a branch campus of Rutgers University on one end and waterfront views of Philadelphia on the other, the former ABC Barrel facility, was abandoned for decades despite being a seemingly prime piece of real estate in the heart of a waterfront neighborhood. BRS assisted the Camden Redevelopment Agency with facilitating the assessment, remediation and future redevelopment of this approximately one-acre site. Despite high demand evidenced by presales and full occupancy of surrounding residential development, the ABC Barrel site could not even be considered for development until the CRA was able to address the site’s contamination. It took years before the funding could be cobbled together for the cleanup. BRS assisted with obtaining various state and federal funding resources and served as LSRP of record for the site. A developer has been designated, and once redevelopment has been completed, there will be a new public park, ringed by newly constructed homes reflecting the historic Victorian character of the neighborhood.
Concrete Washout Systems
By Bill McGuire, Managing Director, McGuire Marketing, CWS Marketing Consultant
At $25 billion, New York City’s Hudson Yards mixed-use project is the most expensive real-estate development in U.S. history. It’s also one of the largest: once completed, the project will span more than 18 million square feet, including 14 acres of public space. Concrete Washout Systems helped by providing and servicing portable, self-contained and watertight roll-off bins that control, capture and contain washout material and runoff. Our system made it easy to wash out concrete trucks, pumps and equipment on-site and facilitates easy off-site recycling of the same concrete materials and wastewater. All washout water and slurry collected by CWS is 100 percent recycled. Concrete Washout Systems was able to help reduce operation costs by eliminating the wastewater and washout material from the jobsite, reducing exposure to very costly USEPA penalties and associated civil fines. The added bonus to New York City citizens is a significant reduction of urban runoff pollution, very common on construction sites, which would otherwise go directly into the storm drain and have a direct impact on local waterways and habitat living in the environment.
Creamer Environmental Inc.
By Tracy Straka, Executive Vice President
For more than a decade, Creamer Environmental has been remediating PCBs at up to six New York City public schools per year under a contract with the NYC School Construction Authority. The work takes place during a very tight timeframe: the summer break that typically runs from the end of June through the week before Labor Day, when no children are present. Besides the challenge of the tight timeframe, we have to coordinate our activities with multiple government agencies. Also, many of the schools are located in densely packed neighborhoods where it’s difficult, if not impossible, to bring in heavy equipment, so much of the labor has to be done by hand. One project involved remediating the grounds of an older school building in Queens that was contaminated when windows were replaced and pieces of the old caulk, which contained PCBs, fell and worked into the soil over a period of years. We excavated the surrounding land—by hand in the courtyard and with a mini-excavator adjacent to the building since we couldn’t fit heavy equipment in the work areas—to a predetermined depth. We also cordoned off an area for the contaminated soil to be safely moved through the school and placed into containers, staged in the street, for disposal. The labor-intensive activities continued as we placed clean fill and restored the landscaping by hand.
Equity Environmental Engineering
By Peter Jaran, PE, LSRP, Managing Director
Equity Environmental Engineering was called in when a Bergen County homeowner and his wife wanted to restore a portion of a brook on their property—which ran under and fed into a 1920s inground pool on their two-and-a-half-acre site—to its natural state. The waterway was home to the last remaining native brook trout in the county, and we helped the owners apply for a grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service to provide for the construction portion of the project, which involved eliminating the pool. Two separate grants were awarded for the construction portion of the project. Equity brought together stakeholders for the project including Trout Unlimited, the NJDEP and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. We helped to prepare an engineering plan, designed the demolition of a dam and restoration of the brook, including plans and specifications and other contract documents, contracting and construction management. Equity was also involved in completing a Phase 2 architectural survey, demolition of the pool and restoration of the brook, including habitat formation, step pool construction, planting of native vegetation on the slopes next to the brook and preparation of a closure report. Recent fish studies confirmed the native brook trout population is thriving. We are proud of being able to help the property owner to restore a brook containing native brook trout with improved fish habitat, and to find and bring stakeholders and funding to this environmental project.
Gallagher Bassett Technical Services (formerly WCD Group)
By Chip D’Angelo, President and CEO
In 2010, WCD Group assisted Advance Realty in the design and remediation in their acquisition of a property, at 14th Street and Willow in Hoboken, which was later developed into a mixed-use luxury project. We knew that the site—which was formerly home to the Hoboken Gas Works, and later housed a gas station and automotive repair shop until closing in 2005—had some serious contamination issues, including coal tar, benzene and significant hydrocarbons. The purchasers took responsibility for the cleanup, which included sophisticated and complicated excavation to 60 feet down, straight to bedrock, to remove the contaminated soil from the nearly one-acre site. All contaminated soil had to be removed to bedrock as per agreement with the NJDEP. The design called for the installation of a four-level underground parking garage that served as a containment structure and addressed the ground water contamination. The successful, completed development is now known as the Harlow. The completed project includes a 140-unit world-class residence that spans seven floors, with 20,000 square feet of ground floor retail anchored by Trader Joe’s. The below-grade parking has 363 spaces, and Harlow’s amenities include an outdoor pool and landscaped pool deck, fitness center, children’s playroom and beautiful roof terraces with barbecues, fire pits and lounge areas. WCD Group is proud to have helped turn an eyesore into a central part of Hoboken’s unique 24/7 vibe.
GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc.
By Benjamin Alter, LSRP, Senior Vice President
In 2017, the owners of a pre-school in Hoboken retained GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc. to remediate a petroleum spill that was discovered by health officials in the building’s basement. Our investigation revealed the presence of perchloroethylene, a colorless liquid primarily used for dry cleaning fabrics and de-greasing metals, in the indoor air of the basement. The levels exceeded New Jersey’s Rapid Action Guidance Levels, constituting an Immediate Environmental Concern. We immediately reported it to state authorities, and requested a stay of immediate remediation—the installation of purifying equipment in the building’s basement—for two reasons: the logistics of bringing the bulky equipment into the limited space; and a suspicion that the source of the contamination was from a different source outside of our client’s property. The preliminary assessment we conducted several years earlier in support of the pre-school’s operating license had demonstrated that PCE was never used, stored or disposed of on the property, which meant our client should not be responsible for the costs of the cleanup. We petitioned the state, noting that the contamination was most likely from a nearby sewer line and some nearby dry cleaners. The state agreed and used public funds to mitigate indoor vapors arising from the subsurface contamination, saving our client tens of thousands of dollars. Today, Hoboken children continue to safely enjoy the benefits of the pre-school.
By Robert L. Zelley, PG, LSRP, Senior Principal, Director of Environmental Services
Maser Consulting was hired in 2005 by the New Jersey School Development Authority to investigate a vacant brownfield within the Paterson Abbott district for consideration of a much-needed new elementary school. The brownfield was composed of a complex variety of lots with prior uses, including a service station, funeral home and textile engraving facility. Soil and ground water impacts were remediated in accordance with strict NJDEP standards to facilitate the school’s construction. The project advancement was challenged by funding and everchanging NJDEP regulations. As the project LSRP, it’s my job to be protective of human health, the environment and public safety. My Remedial Action Outcome on this project was audited and confirmed by the NJDEP in 2020. The course of this project ultimately spanned 15 years, but due to the commitment and perseverance by both the NJSDA and Maser Consulting, students of the Dr. Hani Awadallah School can now enjoy a new, state-of-the-art technology facility that will provide a positive educational impact on this community. It was very satisfying to see the successful outcome of this 105,500 square-foot school, designed for 720 students, knowing the steadfast dedication of all stakeholders.
Matrix New World Engineering
By Jayne Warne PE, President
For more than 30 years, no one had stepped onto Newark’s Ironbound Stadium field. Once home to East Side High School’s football team, the federal government closed the 4,500-seat stadium after testing revealed soil contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls. Previously found in industrial products or chemicals, PCBs were banned in the United States in 1979 amid suggestions that these chemicals could have unintended impacts on human and environmental health. Now the field was being used as a dumping ground, leaving students with no place of their own to practice or play. In 2019, Matrix served as the environmental consultant and LSRP for the City of Newark during redevelopment of the Ironbound Stadium field. Working with the City of Newark, the NJDEP and the USEPA, Matrix oversaw the remediation—including dewatering and water treatment—and redevelopment, excavation and removal of the contaminated soil, and compliance with federal, state and local requirements. The stadium, now transformed, is once again home to the East Side High School Red Raiders football, soccer and lacrosse teams, and is a central hub for community recreation.
RT Martin Ventures LLC
By Bob Martin, Managing Director
During my eight years as Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) under Governor Chris Christie, we leveraged our resources to make NJDEP a more effective and more efficient agency. The NJDEP took a lead role in making the state more resilient to storms such as Superstorm Sandy and in improving protections for the state’s air, water, land and natural resources. Among other accomplishments, we successfully implemented the Site Remediation Reform Act and the Licensed Site Remediation Professional program where the NJDEP oversaw the cleanup of more than 26,000 sites during our eight-year administration. And even as new contaminated sites were being discovered, we lowered the backlog of sites to be cleaned up from 20,000 to 14,000. These kind of results demonstrated the value of this effective program, with licensed private sector professions overseeing the cleanup projects, and NJDEP overseeing the quality and ensuring the regulatory responsibilities were being met.
By Chris Casarona, Director of Sales & Marketing
An alliance between AWT Environmental Services and Summit Drilling has completed several complex projects from Hudson to Burlington County. The results can be characterized by efficiency in the drilling and injection phases where they are experiencing greatly reduced timeframes by leveraging the individual strengths of both companies. At a Montville site, for example, the original project schedule allowed 42 days for the installation of the well field. The AWT/Summit team completed the drilling scope of work in just 20 days by skillfully managing multiple sonic rigs. Following completion of the installation of the well field, AWT installed the air sparge and vapor extraction systems to the customer’s specifications. In a Hamilton project, the combined planning and execution of the AWT/Summit team cut the delivery time of the injection events in half.
“Remediation is a contact sport,” notes AWT Division Manager of Drilling & In-Situ Injection Baxter Duffy. “The key to successful remediation lies both in the selection of proper remedial materials and designing the injection program in a manner that contact with the subsurface contaminant is maximized.”
“We’ve been successfully completing complex sites utilizing the latest in sonic technology for a number of years,” adds Summit Drilling Vice President of Large Projects Dermot Dillon. “At a time when remediation and site closure efficiency are the priority, it’s clear that our success as a combined team is right on time.”