Officials Meet with DEP on Votee Park Contamination, Soil Report Released
Portions of Teaneck's largest developed park reopened.
Teaneck and state Department of Environmental Protection officials met Tuesday to review ways to handle soil contamination found in Milton A. Votee Park.
DEP spokesman Larry Hajna said the meeting, called a technical consultation, covered remediation options and ways the town could move ahead with its planned soccer field turf project.
The town’s 40-acre park was ordered closed Dec. 14 when officials were alerted to elevated levels of benzo(a)pyrene and PCBs under Votee’s soccer field. The contamination was discovered in tests required as part of a project using DEP Green Acres funds to install artificial turf on the fields. More widespread contamination was found after officials ordered additional testing.
“A lot of the samples were at or below cleanup standards,” Hajna said. “This is a manageable situation.”
Tuesday’s meeting was not intended to finalize any specific action plan, and Hajna said Teaneck could face a range of options including capping the contaminated areas and possibly using a modified standard for the park.
“We’re looking at all the options. It may be a combination,” he said.
Township Manager William Broughton, who attended the meeting, said the turf project already called for installing more than two feet of stone under the field to prevent flooding. DEP officials agreed that would effectively cap the contamination found five to seven feet underneath the field.
The DEP said it would work with the township to keep Green Acres money available for the turf project.
Broughton called the meeting in Trenton "productive" and noted the project was still evolving. Portions of the park have been reopened and only marked areas remained off limits.
Teaneck was working with county officials to use Overpeck Park for athletic teams.
“We’re going to be able to accommodate our sports teams,” Broughton said.
A report released this week showed levels of contaminants called Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons above state guidelines were found in 23 of 56 samples collected near the surface soil, excluding the field. No PCBs were found in the surface measurements. One surface sample in the southwest area of Votee turned up lead at 2,300 parts per million, above the state’s 400 parts per million standard.
According to the report, completed by township environmental consultant GZA GeoEnvironmental Technologies Inc., PAHs were found in 17 of 73 intermediate and deep samples collected.
Township officials also asked GZA on Jan. 30 to test soil near the entrance to the tennis and squash courts, and the children’s exercise area, the report said. Six samples showed levels of PAHs above state standards.
Soil samples throughout the park were found to exceed the state’s residential direct contact standard, which DEP officials have said is a conservative guideline based on long-term exposure.