Teaneck Moves Ahead on Contaminated Park Cleanup
Advisory board announces recommendations on Votee Park soil contamination.
A proposal to handle contaminated soil discovered last year in Votee Park came in significantly below initial cost estimates and calls for work to be completed in about four to five months.
The township is preparing to enter a contract with Somerset County-based environmental consultant JM Sorge, based on a recommendation presented Tuesday by the Environmental Advisory Board Respecting Votee Park.
Under the proposal, an area in the southwest corner of the park contaminated with lead would be remediated and soil samples from around the park would be averaged to come up with a measurement below state guidelines, said Advisory Board Chair Dr. Kenneth Hoffman.
The park was ordered closed Dec. 14 after testing found levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, and PCBs above state guidelines. The levels, however, did not exceed federal standards.
"Most of the elevated levels of PAHs are in the northern side of the park. If one side is heavy and one side is light you can use different areas to balance each other out," Hoffman said in detailing how averaging could be used.
"If any hot spot was unable to be averaged out then that area would be selectively removed," the board's presentation to council said. "Very few areas, if any at all, are expected to need this procedure."
State health officials have already said the soil contamination presents no health risks and the 40-acre park was reopened in April. That finding, Hoffman explained, was confirmed by the advisory board through reviews of published federal guidelines. Another panel of independent academics have also found no cause for concern.
"What we are really dealing with here is a regulatory issue as opposed to a health issue," Hoffman said.
A deed restriction limiting the area to parkland will be needed to fall within state guidelines. Officials will also need to certify that groundwater would not be used for drinking, Hoffman said.
Hoffman estimated the total cost at about $100,000, far less than worst case scenarios first considered when officials were unsure how extensive remediation would need to be. Additional costs were possible if one or two higher concentrations of contaminants needed to be removed.
Based on a recommendation that the southwest lead hot spot be removed, some added expense is possible to better plot the impacted area.
Exact figures would emerge in the coming weeks as the township drafts a contract with JM Sorge.
Under the proposal, a project to resurface Votee's soccer fields with artificial turf would be on track to begin in November.
Tuesday's recommendation came after the volunteer park advisory board reviewed three environmental firms, out of 10 possible candidates. JM Sorge was selected over Langan Engineering and Environmental Services in a final review. Seven of the firms opted not to submit proposals, Hoffman said.
Langan suggested using a grass cover to remediate the contamination with yearly inspections. While both firms agreed there were no health concerns, the ongoing costs of inspections was unclear.
The state Department of Environmental Protection will review Teaneck's proposal. Agency spokesman Larry Ragonese said he could not speculate on the proposal before the report was submitted.
A PDF file of the advisory board's presentation is attached to this article.